"The Impregnable Rock of Holy Scripture"
IN THE present discussion I shall briefly call attention to the fact that the Scriptures are resting upon the solid rock of historical facts. It is impossible for one even in a very large volume to deal adequately with such a gigantic question as this one. Thanks to the many faithful investigators in every field of human thought who have examined the subject, and who have brought forth unimpeachable evidence that the Scriptures are inspired of God and can be absolutely relied upon. I am thoroughly aware of the fact that many atheists, infidels, skeptics, and agnostics have done their utmost to discredit the Scriptures in the eyes of the people. After all their ingenious work, the Bible remains today and is bringing untold blessings to countless myriads.
The late William Henry Green of Princeton Seminary declared that men have a right to investigate the Scriptures and the foundations upon which they rest just as they examine any other piece of literature and the evidence supporting its claims. In this judgment he was correct. No one need have any fear whenever an impartial investigation is instituted as to the foundations upon which the Scriptures are resting, or whenever they are subjected to the closest scrutiny by the most highly intellectual menprovided such are really honest and are willing with an unbiased mind to examine facts. The truthfulness of this statement has been proved over and over again and needs no further confirmation. The late Dr. Robert Dick Wilson, than whom there has not been a greater Semitic scholar of our generation, declared that no living man knows enough to call in question for one moment any statement that is found in the Old Testament. He spoke in regard to the Hebrew Scriptures because he was a specialist in that field. I am sure that men of the same caliber who have investigated the New Testament can make just as strong a statement regarding it without any fear of successful contradiction.
In this brief study I wish simply to call attention to the fact that thorough and scholarly investigations have proved that the Scriptures, viewed from every standpoint, are absolutely accurate and are unimpeachable. In the first place, I wish to call attention to archaeology. According to reports which I have heard and a statement which I read (but cannot now recall the source of my information), David Starr Jordan, who could not be accused of having any extreme leanings toward orthodoxy, declared that not one archaeological discovery has raised any doubt regarding any city that is mentioned in the Scriptures. In fact, the reverse is true. The discoveries have all confirmed the biblical narratives rather than cast doubt upon what is found therein. Just as the hand fits the glove, so the Scriptures fit into the mold which archaeology has found to have existed throughout biblical times. The historical data brought to light by this noble science show that the facts discovered are complementary, and never contradictory, to that situation which is set forth in the Word of God.
THE cosmogony, for instance, presented in the Scriptures is the highest possible one conceivable by mortal man. All nations have traditions concerning the beginning of things, but all of these accounts are corrupted and polluted by a crass, naive philosophy, a repulsive code of ethics, and gross polytheism. The gods appearing in these accounts are moved by the same base passions as the vilest of men and are guilty of crimes of the lowest types. It is evident that these are but the creation of the fertile, yet blinded, minds of heathen darkness. The immorality and the jealousies of these gods are appalling.
When, however, these gross and impossible conceptions of polytheism and the debased immorality of the gods are removed from the accounts, there is left a residuum of facts which, when examined, square fairly well with the biblical account. On the other hand, there is nothing of a low nature that appears in the sacred record. The highest possible conception of God is presented. He is a high, holy, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Being, in whom there is no sin nor unrighteousness. Since the biblical account of the beginning of things rests on a plane infinitely higher than the one on which all other cosmogonies are found, there can be but one conclusion, which is that the biblical account was given by men who were borne along by the Spirit of God, and who were given the truth as it was and is.
Another course of reasoning based upon actual facts, which support the proposition that the Bible is the Word of God, is founded upon fulfilled prophecy. Many are the predictions by the various seers of Israel concerning nations, kings, and types of government, which refer to things that now are past but, when spoken, were in the future. These are now found to have been literally fulfilledas spoken. As an example, take the predictions uttered by the various prophets concerning nations living around the Land of Israel. Visit those countries today. Examine the ruins that are to be found there. One can arrive at but one conclusion, which is that the Bible is a correct account and is accurate in its statements. I have had the privilege of visiting Palestine twice, remaining in the Land three months each time. I have been, practically speaking, in every nook and corner of Palestine, Trans-Jordan, and certain portions of Syria, as well as in Egypt. I have visited most of the sights of interest to the Bible student. I have studied the geography, the topography and the positions of sites of various cities in relation to others and to mountains, rivers, streams, and plains, etc. By such a firsthand study, with an open Bible and a heart yearning to know the truth, the conviction was borne in upon my soul in a new way that the biblical account is accurate in its every utterance.
CLOSELY related to the evidence based upon fulfilled prophecy is that which examines the plan that is set forth in the Scriptures, and that runs through the ages. For instance, in Leviticus 26 there is outlined very clearly the entire history of the nation of Israel from the time of Moses through the centuries until she, convicted of her guilt, confesses her sin and pleads for God's forgiving grace. Then God remembers His covenant and restores His people to their ancient Land. Parallel with this account is the one in Deuteronomy 28. This is but a recapitulation and an enlargement upon the one found in Leviticus 26. In the latter passage, one sees a clear prediction made by Moses of the Babylonian captivity, the Roman overthrow of the last vestige of the government of Judah, which occurred in 70 A.D., and Israel's world-wide dispersion. This same outline of her history is seen in the national anthem given by Moses and found in Deuteronomy 32. Thus far the history of Israel has run true to form and has vindicated Moses as a man inspired of God when he gave these utterances. In addition to these predictions relative to Israel, there are those by the other prophets which relate to the course of Gentile history. For instance, there are the predictions found in the second and seventh chapters of Daniel and related passages. In these two prophecies the prediction is made that there would be only four world empires, each to succeed its predecessor and take its place. As we shall see in the discussion of these predictions in a later study, there have been but four such empires to the present time, and everything points in the direction that there will be no others. If prophecy has accurately been fulfilled to date, we may be sure that the unfulfilled portions will be carried out to the very letter when the proper time arrives.
THE crowning proof of the absolute inspiration and infallibility of the Holy Scriptures is found in the empty tomb of the Lord Jesus Christon the first Easter morning. This proposition is recognized by all students who have acquainted themselves with the facts. The prophets centuries before the coming of our Lord foretold, in a minute way, His life, death, burial, and resurrection. If He filled out the prophetic picture He was indeed and in truth Messiah the Son of God. If He did not, He was therefore not the Saviour of the world.
In the short space allotted for this phase of our study, it is impossible for one to enter into a discussion of this momentous question. This has been examined thoroughly by scholars of the first magnitude. Absolute proof has been set forth by experts in these fields. I therefore ask the reader, who is interested in learning the factsnot in speculating or guessingwhich prove that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, to procure volumes dealing with this question. There are many of them. (This question is briefly answered in The Eternal God Revealing Himself to Suffering Israel and Lost Humanity.)
CONFIRMATORY evidence of the resurrection of our Lord and the inspiration of the Scriptures is found in the conversion of the Apostle Paul. I likewise discussed this question in the volume just mentioned. But the data dealing with these two momentous questionsThe Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the Conversion of the Apostle Paulshould be studied in the volume by Lord Lyttelton and Gilbert West. These men started out to disprove the biblical account. They were fair-minded. They wanted truth. They made their investigations separately. They came to their own conclusions independently. After they had completed their work and had written their discoveries, they came together to compare notes. To the amazement of the other, each told his story stating that he was convinced of the truthfulness of the biblical account. They therefore became confirmed believers in the absolute inspiration of the Scriptures and the genuineness of the record.
IN the illustration, page 13, I have called attention to the fact that the rationalistic scientist is the one who is endeavoring to undermine the foundation upon which the Bible rests. Of course, he cannot do that. He can only destroy the faith of those who are uninformed. In my calling attention to this fact, I think that I am rendering a real service to men and women, because the number of those who are endeavoring today to discredit the Scriptures is legion.
ON the other hand I wish to acknowledge the great benefits that have come to the human family through the true scientists. I take off my hat to every real investigator in any field. The fact that a man is a scientist and is acquainted with his special field of labor does not qualify him to step over into the sphere of religion and pose as an expert there. Let him stay within his realm and tell what he knows. At the same time let the theologian become acquainted with the facts of his field and honestly and conscientiously proclaim to the world what he finds in God's Word.