PUTTING THE SKEPTICS TO SILENCE

A SPIRITUAL CALL TO ARMS BY
GARY RAY BRANSCOME

 

    Because the Word of God exposes Satan's lies, while replacing the tyranny of sin with the light and hope of the gospel, the forces of hell have long struggled to discredit the Bible, while trying to create confusion as to what it says. Men have been forbidden to read it, told that they would not understand it, and even put to death for teaching it to their children. Cults seek to change it or replace it, while pulpit traitors stoop to discredit it. Moreover, many are presently enduring persecution because they believe what it says. Yet, in spite of such unreasoning antagonism, the work of God goes on, and God reveals Himself daily to those who acknowledge their sin and receive His promise of forgiveness in Christ.

THE NATURE OF TRUTH


    Of all attempts to discredit God's Word, one of the most foolish is the claim that the Bible cannot be true because it seems contradict itself. That claim is rooted in a faulty understanding of truth, for truth, by its very nature, often seems to contradict itself. In fact, the world around us is full of seeming contradictions. Not because the truth actually does contradict itself, but because man's puny mind is so limited in its perspective. For example, doesn't the fact that a bird can fly seem to contradict the law of gravity? It does on the surface! However, we do not think of that as a contradiction because we understand the principles of aerodynamics that enable the bird to defy gravity.

    Another example can be found in the fact that heat rises, yet ice forms on the top of a pond. Have you ever wondered why the ice doesn't form on the bottom of a pond? Scientists still do not fully understand it, yet if a pond did freeze from the bottom up all of the fish would die.

    Every school child has held the like poles of two magnets together and marveled to discover that they push each other apart. Yet, as adults we see nothing unusual in that because we have been taught that like charges repel. Nevertheless, the nucleus of an atom consists of positively charged particles all clustered together, and no one really understands why those particles do not repel each other. What we do know is that those two facts seem to contradict each other.

    Some experiments seem to prove that light is a wave, while others seem to prove that it consists of particles. Which is true? The results of those experiments seem to contradict each other. However, we would be foolish to reject the facts because they seem contradictory to our puny finite way of thinking. Instead, we acknowledge that both facts are true, and conclude that light has the characteristics of both a wave and a particle.

    While I believe that I have made my point, let me mention some other seeming contradictions in the world around us. First of all, the fact that helium rises seems to contradict the law of gravity. Likewise, the fact that the earth does not fall into the sun also seems to defy the law of gravity. The fact that sunshine makes grass grow appears to contradict the fact that it makes grass wither. And, the fact that the Mississippi River flows north in places contradicts the general rule that it flows south. Although you may have never noticed these seeming contradictions, as with the alleged contradictions in Scripture, the real test of wisdom lies in understanding how those bits of truth fit together, and why no real contradiction exists.

DOES THE BIBLE CONTRADICT ITSELF?


    Since nature is full of facts that outwardly seem to contradict, even though they do not, we can expect a book that contains truth, rather than a man-made abstraction of the truth, to also contain statements that seem contradictory to our puny finite minds. Yet, in spite of some surface contradictions, there is no absolute proof that a contradiction exists. Instead, various statements are simply being interpreted to contradict each other, when they could be interpreted to agree.

    Consider for example the doctrine of the Trinity. On the surface, the fact that only one God exists seems to contradict the fact that Father, Son and Holy Ghost are each God (Deuteronomy 6:4, 1 John 5:7). Nevertheless, that only seems like a contradiction if we ignore the fact that God exists outside of our universe, and for that reason is not limited by the paradigms that we regard as absolute. In short, God is not like man because He is not a man, and His nature is far different from man's nature.

    The two great doctrines of Scripture, Law and Gospel, seem on the surface to contradict one another. The law says, "The soul that sinneth it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4) while the gospel says, "whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die" (John 11:26). Which statement is true? Are we going to die, or aren’t we? Although those two statements may seem to contradict there is no real contradiction, for one statement is directed at the unrepentant while the other is God’s Word of comfort to those who repent. In short, such statements were never intended to agree, yet they are perfectly true. [For other examples compare Habakkuk 2:4 with 1 John 3:7, Romans 3:28 with Romans 2:13, 1 Corinthians 6:9,10, with 1 Corinthians 6:11, Galatians 2:16 with James 2:14, and Matthew 19:17 with Acts 16:31.]

    Even if such statements are interpreted to contradict each other, because they could just as well be interpreted to agree, the contradiction exists in the mind of man, not in the realm of reality (See Proverbs 26:4,5).

ALLEGED CONTRADICTIONS


    One alleged contradiction has to do with the fact that 1Chronicles 21:1 tells us that Satan provoked David to number the people, while 2Samuel 24:1 says that God moved him to do it. However, there is no reason why both statements could not be true. The fact that God wants people to “be fruitful and multiply” does not contradict the fact that Satan often gets them to do it in a sinful way. In fact, Satan often gets people to do the right thing for the wrong reasons, or with a wrong attitude. In addition, God sometimes uses what Satan does to His own advantage. [For examples see 1 Samuel 16:14-16, Genesis 45:4-7, Romans 8:28 and Job 1:8-12]

    Another alleged contradiction has to do with the fact that 2Samuel 24:24 tells us that “David bought” Araunah’s (Oman’s) threshing floor and oxen “for fifty shekels of silver,” while 1Chronicles 21:23 says that David “gave” six hundred shekels of gold for the place. However, as with the previous example, there is no reason why both of these statements could not be true. In the first place, Araunah wanted to give the threshing floor to David. Therefore, the fact that David persuaded him to accept the fifty shekels he had with him does not mean that David could not have “given” him more later. You will notice that 1Chronicles 21:23 does use the word “gave.” In short, we know so very little, that it is shear arrogance for any man to assume that the Bible has erred, especially when his entire knowledge of what took place comes from the Bible to begin with.

    Another alleged discrepancy has to do with the fact that the sea (tank) that Solomon had prepared for the temple was ten cubits “from brim to brim,” yet only thirty cubits around (2Chronicles 4:2). If we assume that the distance “from brim to brim” was the diameter, then the distance around should have been at least thirty-one cubits. But there is no reason for anyone to make that assumption. In fact, we are told that the brim was like the “brim of a cup,” and the kind of cups in use at that time had a flared brim (2Chronicles 4:5). Therefore, as with the first two examples, there is no reason why both statements can not be true.

    Those who insist on interpreting passages of Scripture to contradict each other, violate two key rules for interpreting Scripture. The first of those rules is given in Isaiah 8:20, and tells us that any interpretation that contradicts what the Bible says elsewhere is false. The second, found in John 8:31, makes it clear that we are not to read unscriptural ideas into the text. In fact, one evidence of the unity and inspiration of Scripture has to do with the fact that, when these two rules are followed all that the Bible says fits together perfectly to form a unified body of doctrine.

    Before going on, let me reemphasize the fact that just because two statements appear contradictory to our puny finite minds, does not mean that they actually do contradict. On the surface, the statement “Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980” seems to contradict the statement “Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1984” yet both statements are perfectly true. Not only that, but those who insist that various statements of Scripture contradict each other are being just as unreasonable as someone who insists that Ronal Reagan could not have been elected in both 1980 and 1984. It is arrogant for anyone to assume that they know more about the events recorded in Scripture than the people who were actually living at the time — the people who wrote the text.

PULPIT TRAITORS


    While Satan can always find non-Christians to attack the Bible, he knows that his attack will be more effective if he utilizes traitors within the church. He also knows that traitors are less likely to be exposed as such, if they draw attention away from their own error by attacking another error. That is why he raised up both Pharisees and Sadducees prior to Christ’s advent, and that is why he is doing the same thing today. At the time of Christ, the Pharisees were the legalists, while the Sadducees were the rationalists. Today, the cults and Papists are the legalists, while the “liberals” are the rationalists. Therefore, things have not really changed at all. Just as the Sadducees condemned the Pharisees, the “liberals” condemn the legalism and tyranny of the inquisition. Nevertheless, there is not a dimes worth of difference between them, for the “liberals” and inquisitors both try to keep people from reading and believing God’s Word. [The inquisitors kept the Bible from the people, while even sentencing men to death for teaching their children the Lord’s Prayer in English. The “liberals” discredit the Bible by portraying it as a book full of myths and errors, while mocking and discriminating against those who believe it.]
 
[Note: Within these two groups, Satan also works to lead people away from the truth of Scripture by leading them to look outside of Scripture for spiritual truth, to tradition, the opinions of men, or “new revelations.”]

SCIENCE FALSELY SO CALLED


    While the scientific method utilizes both observation and experimentation, the gradual development of one species from another (evolution) has never been observed and cannot be verified by any experiment. However, there are experiments that disprove certain key aspects of evolution, such as the assumption that life spontaneously arose from non-living matter.
For example, at one time it was believed that maggots spontaneously generate in meat. In order to test that "hypothesis," Francesco Redi (in 1660) devised an experiment, consisting of two jars that both contained meat. One jar was open, the other jar had a piece of cheesecloth stretched across the top. While maggots only appeared in the open jar, flies were actually observed laying maggots on the cheesecloth, thus proving that the maggots were not generated spontaneously.
However, instead of completely rejecting the idea of spontaneous generation, a number of “scientists” continued to believe that bacteria would spontaneously generate in broth. In order to test that hypothesis, Louis Pasteur (in 1859) devised an experiment utilizing several long-necked flasks that contained beef broth. After the broth was boiled, the necks on some of the flasks were heated and bent in an s-curve. As predicted, bacteria only infested the broth that was in straight-necked flasks. When it entered the flasks with curved necks, it wound up sticking to the side of the neck, and never reached the broth.

    Although such experiments, coupled with the invention of a dust-free box at the end of the nineteenth-century, convinced the scientific community that life does not come from non-life; those who have made evolution their religion ignore the scientific evidence, preferring to believe that once upon a time, long long ago, a teeny weeny bit of matter did come to life, and that all other living things have evolved from it.

AN EXPERIMENT
    At the time Darwin wrote his book, people imagined that one-celled life forms were very simple in their makeup, mere blobs of matter that could easily slosh together by chance. However, we now know that that is not the case at all. In fact, we now know that a single cell is as complex as the entire human body was thought to be in Darwin's time. There are one-celled plants that have a little tail which they use to swim around, and an eye-spot that lets them know which direction the light is in. Such creatures could hardly slosh together by chance. However, in order to demonstrate how silly it is to believe that such life forms could come together by chance, I would like to propose the following experiment. We will take a single cell, break it down into its component parts, and then wait and see if the parts come together again.

    Since a common chicken egg consists of only one cell (an egg cell), it would be convenient to start with an egg. We can then divide that egg into its component parts by placing it into a blender. Once that has been done, we will have all of the ingredients needed to form a single cell. If evolution is true those ingredients should come back together to form an egg. However, if evolution is not true, instead of coming back together, time and chance should cause those ingredients to break down and decay even further. That being the case, how long do you think it will take for the parts of that egg to come back together? One hour? One year? How long? If those ingredients will never recombine to form an egg, isn't it absurd to believe that nonliving ingredients could come together to form a single cell?

[NOTE: A hen’s egg is much larger than other single cells because it contains a great deal of stored food. In fact the most complex part of an egg is the part you cannot see, the part that could eventually grow into a chicken. That is why Ripley's "Believe It or Not" lists the Ostrich egg as the largest single cell.]

    While evolutionists make a lot of empty boasts about the fossil record, claiming that extinct life forms have evolved into something else, they conveniently fail to mention the fact that about forty percent of all fossil life forms are not extinct. Furthermore, those that are not extinct have not evolved into anything else, thus proving that life is not evolving.

THE FOOLISHNESS OF THIS WORLD


    The silliness really gets out of hand when grown men attempt to apply the scientific method to a discipline such as history. Since science deals with both observation and experiments that are repeatable, while past history can be neither observed nor repeated; history is outside of the realm of science. For example, while the historical evidence that Henry the eighth was king of England in 1530 is incontestable, there is no experiment that can prove he was king at that time. The same holds true for any historical event. Yet, when rationalists examine the books of Moses, they ignore the historical evidence as to the authorship of those books, while coming up with fanciful “theories” as to their authorship. The problem with that approach lies in the fact that such “theories” are not scientific because they cannot be tested experimentally. And, because they are not scientific, they are more akin to childish conjecture than responsible scholarship.

    For example, because some parts of the Pentateuch usually refer to God as “Elohim,” while other parts usually refer to Him as “Jehovah,” somebody came up with the idea that there were originally two separate religious groups, one worshipping “Elohim” and the other worshipping “Jehovah.” However, not only is there is not one scrap of evidence that such groups ever existed, but there is much historical evidence to the contrary. Therefore, even though the advocates of that “theory” claim to be using their reason, they are actually throwing it out the window (Luke 1:51).

I might also add, that since reason itself tells us that every design has a designer, it is unreasonable for anyone to assume that the One who designed the universe and all that is in it, setting the laws of nature into motion, cannot override those laws in order to work a miracle.
 

CONCLUSION


    There is not one scrap of hard, objective evidence that the Bible has ever contradicted itself. Those who insist that it has are reasoning from a faulty concept of knowledge (epistemology), for they assume that whenever two statements appear to contradict each other, they actually do contradict, and I have shown that assumption to be false.

    For further reading I recommend, "Evidence That Demands A Verdict" by Josh McDowell.