Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 13, 1962
NUMBER 19, PAGE 4-5,9,12-13a

The Bible --- Of Divine Or Human Origin?


A Personal Question

The Bible — did it come from God, or is it the product of human genius?

This is a question that each individual must ultimately answer for himself. For however much one relies on the testimony, the judgments, or the opinion of others, in the last analysis each man gives his own answer. One may uncritically and casually adopt the judgment of another, but in the very act of doing so he makes that judgment his own private, personal answer to the question. And on that answer he stakes his earthly happiness and his hope for immortality.

It needs to be further noted that the answer given need not be an open and overt declaration either one way or the other. A simple failure to decide for Divine authorship is an effective and inescapable decision against such authorship. For if the Bible be given of God, and not of men, then one cannot be indifferent to it. If one is indifferent to its claims, then he has decided either on a conscious or a subconscious level, that the Bible does not deserve consideration. It is human and not divine. When it is proved that the Scriptures are inspired of God, the proposition that the Bible is from heaven is proved. "Manifestly the authority of the Holy Scriptures depends upon their inspiration, for they are authoritative only as they are truly divine, and they are divine only as they are truly inspired — they are divinely authoritative simply and alone in virtue of their inspiration." (I. B. Grubbs, Christian Standard, January 13, 1883.)

Against Divine Authorship

What, then, are the compelling arguments against Divine authorship? Rather, what are the true reasons behind the skepticism and indifference, if not open rejection, with which some regard the Bible? Let us list them as follows:

I. Secularism

In the terrific pressures of the twentieth century, it must be acknowledged that few people have either the disposition, the attitude, or the time necessary to study the question as to the authorship of the Bible. It is certainly true that very few men, if any, have ever rejected the Bible because a sincere and careful study of its pages forced them to the conclusion that its claims and pretensions are false. On the contrary, an honest study of Biblical evidence, both external and internal, will inevitably lead to belief. A bias against the Bible, leading to a predisposition toward indifference and unconcern will prevent such a study; hence, will prevent faith and acceptance. That the prevailing emphasis on a materialistic philosophy of life produces such a bias goes without question.

2. Bible And Science "In Conflict"

"It is the popular belief that the Bible and science are at odds, that intelligence is on the side of unbelief, and that only childish or sentimental or uneducated people still trust the contents of the Bible." (Ramm — The Christian View of Science and Scriptures, p. 24)

One powerful factor in developing this "mind-set" has been the tragic failure by some Bible believers through the years to distinguish between "inspiration" and "interpretation." For example, the medieval Bible scholars "interpreted" Biblical statements to mean that the earth was flat ("four corners of the earth" Isaiah 11:22; "rising and setting of the sun," etc.), and were adamant in their opposition to any teaching that opposed their conviction. When astronomers came along who proclaimed the rotundity of the earth and movement of the planets, they were violently accused of "not believing the Bible"! Who can ever forget that miserable scene in which the aged and trembling Galileo was made to bow down in humble submission before Pope Urban VII and recant the things he had written about the movement of the planets because his writings "contradicted the Bible"!

Even grammar school children know now that Galileo's statements did not "contradict the Bible," but this incident, and thousands of others like it through the centuries gradually developed a hardened and well established belief in the popular mind that there is an irreconcilable conflict between the Bible and science — with the victories all going, one by one, to the side of science.

3. Religious Divisions

The "seemingly endless divisions (often with bitterness and invective) which exist among and between Bible believers has had a devastating effect insofar as general belief in the Bible is concerned. Christ himself saw the inevitable consequences of such strife, and prayed that it might be avoided: "Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word; that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art In me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us: that the world may believe that thou didst send me." (John 17:20, 21)

Consider the confusing and ridiculous spectacle that confronts the man in the street: Baptists and other immersionist's strongly contending that the Bible teaches immersion ONLY as scriptural baptism; Methodists, Presbyterians, and other sprinklers contending with equal fervor and finality that the Bible teaches sprinkling as well as immersion. And then to compound the confusion, all of them stating that "it makes no difference what one believes, any how, so long as he is sincere!" And, with few exceptions, each partisan vigorously defending the idea that, regardless of error or truth, the Bible teaches that his adversary (whom he labels a teacher of falsehood) will reach heaven just as easily and quickly as he does — no wonder the average man of intelligence and discernment stands hopelessly bewildered and confused. He comes to the firm conviction that the Bible is a jumble of contradictions, folklore, and superstitions, having little relevance for our day.

For Divine Authorship

On the other side of the ledger, arguing in favor of a Divine authorship, consider the following:

I. Testimony Of The Ages

We have here a book which has been under constant attack for nearly two thousand years. No literary production in human history has been subjected to such prolonged, searching, critical, and painstaking examination and study. The books written both in opposition to and defense of the Bible would run into the hundreds of thousands. Yet in spite of the assaults and savage efforts to find fault, error, or misstatement, here are the startling findings that have come from the studies:

a. With some forty men writing over a period of more than 1500 years, there are no contradictions as to statement of fact, or moral or ethical teaching, in the entire sixty-six books. There is tremendous diversity in both style and content (history, law, biography, poetry, drama, prophecy, etc.) yet complete unanimity in purpose and design.

b. No certain statement of Scripture has yet been found to be in contradiction to any demonstrated fact of the natural world.

c. The most serious efforts of the most gifted minds of all ages have been unable to produce a system of ethics or morality superior to, or even equal to Christianity, nor one more perfectly adapted to the needs of humanity.

d. The most prolonged, persistent, and intensive efforts of both political and philosophical enemies (from the persecutions of imperial Rome to the attacks of modern atheistic philosophies) have been unable to eradicate this book from the world, or to destroy its influence in the hearts of thoughtful and intelligent people.

II. Testimony Of Prophecy

The appeal to prophecy has from the very beginning been one of the strongest and most enduring proofs of the divine character of the Bible. Porphyry, early pagan opponent of Christianity, discovered such an astonishing correspondence between certain of Daniel's predictions and subsequent historical events that he saw no way at all to escape conviction of Daniel's inspiration except by denying the authenticity of the prophecy. He argued that the detailed descriptions in this book were so accurate and so many that a rational man would be forced to conclude that the book had been written AFTER the events it described. (Porphyry was not the last "scholar" to take this naive way of meeting an unanswerable demonstration of Divine foreknowledge.) Thomas Paine admitted that Daniel had written before the events he described, but denied that there was a fulfillment of the things he had predicted in any relevant sense. The English philosopher, Bolingbroke, trying to break the force of the argument in Isaiah fifty-third chapter, asserted that Jesus had deliberately precipitated his own death by a series of carefully planned maneuvers merely to give his disciples some ground on which to appeal to the old prophecies!

In weighing the force of prophecy as an evidence of Divine inspiration, consider carefully:

The Destruction Of Jerusalem

When we combine the prophecies of Moses (Deut. 28) some fifteen hundred years prior to Jerusalem's fall with those of Christ (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21) uttered about forty years before the event, we find some forty-three distinct predictions made — in precise and minute detail — all of which combined in the destruction of Jerusalem, and which have never so met in any other event in the history of the world. 1. Prediction as to "false Messiahs.", a. Wars. At the time of Christ's prophecy peace prevailed both among the Jews and among the nations around them. Yet when the time came for the fulfillment of the prophecy, Josephus says, "the country was filled with violence; disorders prevailed in Alexandria, Caesarea, Damascus, Tyre, Ptolemais, and all over Syria." The Roman Empire began to have convulsions, and within two years time four Roman emperors suffered death. At the height of the chaos the Jews began their rebellion against Rome.

b. Famine, earthquake, pestilence. There were severe famines both in Judea and In Italy preceding the destruction of Jerusalem. Earthquakes in years between 60- 70 A.D. are recorded by Tacitus, Suetonius, and Josephus. The latter gives account of them in Crete, Asia Minor, and one of extraordinary intensity in Judea.

c. Fearful signs and portents in the heavens. Josephus states that just before the war, "a star resembling a sword stood over the city; and a comet for a whole year." He further declares that an awesome light shone constantly round about the altar, that huge Eastern Gate (which required twenty men for its opening and closing) opened of its own accord; and that chariots and troops were seen "In the clouds" at sunset. Tacitus states that fire from the clouds of heaven fell on the temples, and that many great signs indicated the coming ruin of the city of Jerusalem.

Whether any, or all, of these things actually happened, or whether such reports are to be credited to the fears and exaggerations of a superstitious people, they still fulfill the words of Christ: "And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars."

3. Predictions Of Signs Within The Kingdom Of God.

a. Persecution. The church was often under local and sporadic (though intense) persecution from the Jews from her earliest years. But following the burning of Rome in July of 64 A.D., the infamous Nero, seeking to shift blame for the fire from himself accused the Christians of having fired the city, and inaugurated an empire-wide effort to exterminate the entire body of Christians in all his domain. This was the first of ten such imperial persecutions, and many thousands perished in the awful onslaught.

b. Mutual betrayal. Tacitus informs us that while some steadfastly refused (even under torture) to reveal the names of their fellow-Christians, others broke under the suffering and freely gave the names of a great number of others. These then were seized and tortured to death also.

c. The gospel to be preached everywhere as a witness before the city fell. What a task to be accomplished within forty years! And how incredible it must have appeared to the skeptic and unbeliever. Yet the words of Jesus are crystal clear and positive: "And the gospel must first be preached unto all the nations." And equally clear is Paul's declaration of the task's having been accomplished when he says that the gospel had been "preached to every creature which is under heaven." (Col. 1:23)

4. Predictions Concerning The Actual Destruction.

a. The destruction would be wrought not by a nation near them, such as Egypt or Syria, as might have been supposed, but "The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; a nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor show favor to the young." (Deut. 28:49, 50) Would it be possible for an historian, writing after the event, to give a more accurate description of Rome and the Roman soldier than did Moses — writing 1500 years before the event!

b. Captured survivors would be taken to Egypt "by ship" (not by the usual and customary overland route) and would be "sold unto your enemies for bondmen a n d bondwomen, and no man shall buy you." Josephus tells us that 99,000 Jews were thus taken to Egypt and were sold into the most horrible kind of slavery and servitude.

c. The temple would be destroyed. "And Jesus went out from the temple, and was going on his way; and his disciples came to him to show him the buildings of the temple. But he answered and said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." (Matt. 2:1-2) Now, when the city was taken, Titus gave very strict orders that the temple should be preserved. It was a highly unlikely event that it should be destroyed: "The walls enclosed over nineteen acres; the east gate rose to a height of one-sixth of a mile from the vale, and immense stones, some of them 85 feet by 8 by 10 were wrought into its structure. It was beautiful and sacred, a monument both of art and worship. It rose, like a mount of gold and snow. Its carved portals, alabaster porticos, and golden sanctuary won the most rapturous praises, even from Pagans....It was built by Herod, a creature of Roman power and patronage, who was more loyal to the conquering nations than to those with whom he was connected. And Titus was mild, humane, cultured, a commander who would not be likely to favor destruction of the temple, who in fact forbade such wanton destruction. The fires were once put out by his orders, but rekindled when his back was turned." (Many Infallible Proofs — Pierson, p. 88.)

The inside of the temple was gutted by fire. Two days later Titus came to inspect the ruin. His eye caught the glint of gold where it had melted and had run down into the mortar joints. He then ordered the temple dismantled, stone by stone, command that the foundations be dug up, and the very ground under the temple be plowed and sifted so as to recover the gold. Truly, "Jerusalem shall be plowed as an heap!" was fulfilled to the very letter; and "not one stone shall be left upon another" received its terrible completion.

III. Testimony Of Miracle

The whole human race has always looked upon a "miracle" as an evidence of divinity. A miracle, by definition, is something beyond the power of mere human or natural forces. "A miracle is an event in nature, so extraordinary in itself and so coinciding with the prophecy or command of a religious leader or teacher as fully to warrant the conviction, on the part of those who witness it, that God has wrought it with the design of certifying that this teacher or leader has been commissioned by him. (Strong — Systematic Theology — p. 118.)

That this definition accords with the Biblical view is evident from such statements as that of Peter: "Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God unto you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him In the midst of you, even as ye yourselves know." (Acts 2:22) And of Nicodemus, "Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that thou doest, except God be with him (John 3:2) And of Paul in his statement that Jesus "was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." (Rom. 1:4)

The Resurrection Of Christ

The resurrection of Christ proves beyond all peradventure of doubt that this man was "come from God." That being so, his word was the word of Divinity. There is no event in ancient human history which is demonstrated by evidence so varied and so conclusive as this bodily resurrection of Christ. "By many infallible proofs" he demonstrated this fact. On thirteen separate occasions after he came forth from the tomb he revealed himself to the disciples:

(a) to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9):

(b) To the other women (Matt.28:9): (e) To Peter (1 Cor. 15:5); (d) To the two on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35); (e) To the twelve (1 Cor. 15:5); (f) To the twelve after eight days (John 2026) (g) On the Galilee seashore (John 21:1); (h) In the mountain in Galilee (Matt. 28:16); (i) To the five hundred (1 Cor. 15:6); (j) To James (1 Cor. 15:7); (k) At the ascension in Bethany (1 Cor. 15:7); (1) To Stephen (Acts 7:55); (m) To Saul on the Damascus road. (1 Cor. 15:8)

So overwhelming has been the cumulative effect of the testimony of these appearances that from the very beginning the skeptics have felt it necessary to try to offer some explanation for the empty tomb. The very first story was that told by the guards who reported that "His disciples came by night and stole him away while we slept." (Matt. 28:14) Strange testimony this! men swearing as to what happened while they slept.

Other theories and speculations almost as wild and absurd have been advanced by others through the ages: The "swoon-theory" of the German theologian Strauss, for example, which holds that Jesus did not die, but only "swooned," and was revived by the coolness of the tomb and the spices. The flimsy theory, like many another, fades away in face of the clear evidence: Jesus was dead when the spear pierced his side. The coming forth of both blood and water is conclusive medical evidence that death had already taken place, and a watery fluid had collected in the pericardium. If the heart had been still pulsating there would have come forth blood — not "blood and water."

Here is a dilemma for those who deny the fact of Christ's resurrection: either his body remained in the hands of his disciples, or it was given up to the Jews, If the disciples retained it, they were impostors and deceivers — and suffered untold persecutions and the agonies of final martyrdom for that which they knew to be a lie! By every standard for judging human motivation this is impossible, hence incredible. Or, on the other hand, if the Jews had the body, why did they not produce it, and thus put an end to the claims of the disciples that Christ had come alive again?

IV. Testimony Of The Natural World

It has been often demonstrated that the writings of the Bible are in perfect harmony with the natural world — the God of revelation and the God of nature are one and the same God. He is the author of both. This fact takes on greater significance when we realize that knowledge of the natural world during those centuries when the Bible was being written was quite limited, and often inaccurate.

Yet the Bible, coming out of times of ignorance and fantastic superstition, is completely free from the gross misinformation and generally accepted ideas of those ages; and in many a reference and implication shows a clear knowledge of and Insight into the natural world centuries, if not millennia, before such knowledge and insight came into the realm of human understanding.


One example of his will demonstrate the truth. The Bible is quite positive and specific in its statement that "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." (Gen. 1:1) For many years the unbelievers strongly argued that there could be no proof of any such creation; and that it was more logical and rational to believe that the earth was eternal, that it had always existed. But that naive speculation is now gone forever. Since the advent of modern atomic science, with its intricate and marvelous methods for measuring the age of both organic and inorganic substances, even the wildest and most vehement believer will be embarrassed in any attempt to argue the eternity of matter.

This earth had a beginning! It is not eternal. Both the Bible and Science now speaks with a common voice on that subject. For a modern man to deny a definite beginning point in time for our universe is as unrealistic and scientifically fantastic as for him to claim that the earth is flat.

When that beginning took place is not stated by the Scripture. The Bible simply uses the expression "In the beginning" with not the least hint or implication as to whether that "beginning" was recent or remote. Those Bible "scholars" of the past who have set the date of creation at 4004 B.C. have done a great disservice to the faith, and have contributed no little bit to the general skepticism with which many intelligent (but Bibically uninformed) people view the Scriptures. When, for example, Bishop Lightfoot of Cambridge University, following Ussher's chronology, declared that creation took place the week of October 18-24, 4004 B.C., with Adam being created on October 23 at 9:00 A. M. forty-fifth meridian time, he simply made himself ridiculous.

The Bible and science agree that the universe had a beginning. The Bible is non-communicative as to the time of that beginning. While competent scientists differ in their estimates, none, so far as we know, judges the universe to be more than four or five billons of years in age — most of them setting an absolute maximum of five and one-half billions of years.

Other Natural Phenomena

There is an ever growing lists of facts and events in which we have both the testimony of the natural world and the testimony of inspired writers. When the natural phenomena are fully established, when the inspired writings are correctly understood, there is to be found an absolute concord and harmony as between the two witnesses — a characteristic of the Hebrew-Christian Scriptures which is true of no other "sacred writings" of any religion on earth.

Truly, "men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit." (2 Peter 1:21)

— F. Y. T.