Wednesday, February 25, 2015

P14 Why the Bible is the Word of God: Are any other religious books the Word of God?

2 Timothy 3:16 "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness".

Yesterday we spent quite a bit of time comparing the Bible to the Book of Mormon and a few other statements made by the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), Joseph Smith. We used three tests to determine whether or not the Book of Mormon could be considered the Word of God as much as the Bible. Those tests were:

1. Is the past accurately described. Isaiah 41:21-22a

2. Is the future accurately predicted. Isaiah 41:22b-23

3. What does the book have to say about God. Deuteronomy 18:18-22

After scrutinizing the claims of both Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, it was discovered that no claims of revelation nor inspiration can be demonstrated. When the Bible was submitted to the same type of testing, it was found that it was confirmed and bears the marks of revelation and Divine inspiration, thus by default substantiating the reality of the True and Living God that revealed its words. 

With that process done, we now turn to an even more significant question: is the Bible the only book in the entire world worthy of the title "Word of God". Again, the Bible is not the only book in the world claiming this title. Other books of other religions claim some sort of Divine revelation and inspiration. However, just like the Book of Mormon, they too must past the tests above before we can believe their claims. Lets briefly survey some of them and see when compared to the Bible, whether or not they can be called "God's Word".

1. Is the past accurately described. Isaiah 41:21-22a
I won't reproduce Isaiah 41:21-22a here, since we discussed it at length yesterday. Suffice it to say, it states the first test in terms of determining a claim to Divine revelation and inspiration has to do with accuracy about the past. Some of the literature of the world's religions make claims about past events. 

Note: all the samples below are taken from the book: Sacred Texts of World Universal Anthology, Crossroad Publishers. 

To begin, in the texts of Hinduism, we see statements about the creation of the world. In the one volume of Hindu literature, copied from the Rgveda 10:129 , we read "The Gods are later than this world's production. Who knows then whence it first came into being?" The idea of a self-creating eternal universe seems to be in view, and yet in another Hindu narrative called: "Prajapati Creates Agnil Satapatha-Brahmana", we read the following: "Prajapti alone, indeed, existed here in the beginning." What is at stake is of course what does Hinduism have to say about the origin of all things: is the universe self-creating or did it emerge from an assortment of different deities? Hinduism is happy to retain conflicting narratives, and yet this begs the question: what is the nature of the beginning of history as we know it? Hinduism does not possess a unified answer.

When we turn to another religion, Islam, its sole holy book, the Quran, records in its chapter (called Surahs) 4:157 "And [for] their saying, "Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah ." And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain." According to Islam, the crucifixion of Jesus never took place. However, nearly one dozen independent lines of historic evidence assert the reality of Jesus' crucifixion, not to mention of course the Four Gospels of the New Testament.

These of course are but two examples, and yet they represent two major world religions that both claim to be religions of Divine revelation with texts inspired by their respective deities. Both evidence lack of agreement or lack of accuracy in the recording of the most fundamental and major events of history. The Bible on the other hand records in over 60 places that the universe began to exist, with the cause being the the same God who reveals the words of the Bible. Moreover, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, featured prominently in the New Testament and predicted in the Old Testament, satisfies the voluminous evidence we have for that event. Henceforth the Bible is the Word of God by virtue of its accuracy about the past. What of future events?

2. Is the future accurately predicted. Isaiah 41:22b-23
Whenever we survey the Quran (composed of 6,000 lines of text, slightly longer than the New Testament), the volumes of literature from Hinduism, the philosophy of Confusius, Buddhism, Indian relgions and other world religions, it may shock readers to discover that not one example of verified, fulfilled prophecy can be found. Yet, with the 66 books of the Bible we discover hundred of predictive prophecies, with dozens of them historically verified as fulfilled. The phenomena of fulfilled prophecy cannot be explained purely by appeal to naturalistic processes or mere reason. To accurately predict an event in detail at a later time than the stated prophecy cannot be done repeatedly by chance, coincidence or favorable odds. Unless the very God revealing the prophecy exists, there is no other explanation. Henceforth, as shown in past posts in this series, the Bible repeatedly demonstrates its Divine revelation and inspiration by virtue of repeated fulfilled prophecy.

3. What does the book have to say about God. Deuteronomy 18:18-22
As we have noted already before, if the given book pasts the first two tests, then by default the Deity claiming to reveal the words and message is shown to be real. Christian apologist Dean Hardy in his book: "Stand Your Ground: An Introductory Text for Apologetics Students", page 38, gives this remarkable insight: "(I)s there an actual supernatural deity and if so, who is he? Is there truly a deity that exists? If so, there are only three possibilities:

1. The supernatural deity in one of the supernatural beings expressed in one of the modern world religions

2. God exists, but he is not expressed in any world religion

3. The deity is a mixture of all these different deities that are expressed in all these various religions."

As we have discovered in subjecting the texts of the major world religions to the three tests for Divine inspiration, options #2 & #3 would be ruled out, since no other religious book has demonstrated traits of Divine inspiration. Only one book, featuring One God, has demonstrated itself to reveal and be revealed by the One true and living God - the Bible. 

Closing thoughts
Today's post aimed to briefly survey other relgious books claims of revelation and divine inspiration. It was discovered that no other book in the world can demonstrate its claim as revealed and divinely inspired like the Bible. The Bible alone is the Divinely inspired and revealed Word of God.

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