SINCE the world, as seen in Chapter I, gives abundant evidence of the existence of a Supreme Being, Who has stamped His handiwork with the unmistakable trade-mark of teleology, which fact proves conclusively that the present condition of the world is not an end within itself but, like a prophetic utterance, points forward to a higher and a more glorious existence in the future, and since His providences in this life set forth clearly His beneficent character and love for His creatures, it is most reasonable to suppose that He has spoken to them. The Bible claims to be this Word which He, in His love, has revealed for the good of humanity. I. VARIOUS ATTITUDES TOWARD THE BIBLE
Various attitudes are taken by different groups of people toward this collection of sacred literature.
A. Rationalistic ¹
There are those among the Hebrew people as well as among the Gentiles who look upon the Bible as of human origin and treat it accordingly. To them the religion of Israel is but one of the great religions of the human race, and the Bible is to be classed along with the "sacred books" of the heathen nations. This group of men conscientiously believes that the writers of the Hebrew Bible were inspired only as poets of other nations lay claim to inspiration,² namely, Homer, Virgil, Dante, Milton, Shakespeare, et al. This inspiration is nothing more than the resultant of an inherited mental state and bias toward things religious, stimulated by environment, which at times lifted the writers to sublime heights. To them, since the Bible is purely a human book, it, like all other works of men, contains mistakes and errors which must be corrected by research and comparison with the evidence from the monuments of antiquity and made to tell a truthful story concerning the past.B. Believers in עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדִּבְּרוֹת The Ten Words Only
In this connection let the reader note the fact that many things mentioned in the Scriptures which were called in question by the rationalistic critics prior to the modern discoveries in oriental lands have been proved to be correct, and the critics have had to retreat from their position of attack. It is a fact, well known to all who are familiar with the science of Biblical criticism, that in every instance where an attack has been made upon the historicity and genuineness of a certain portion of the text or of the data contained therein, the evidence brought to light by archaeological research has not in one instance discredited the Biblical record, but rather has proved and confirmed the same. If the Scriptures were of human origin, as is claimed by the rationalists, archaeological data would not confirm them. Therefore since archaeology establishes their truthfulness, they cannot be classed with ordinary writings of uninspired men.
Another attitude taken toward the Scriptures by certain Hebrews is that only the "Ten Words" are the words of God, but that the rest of the Scriptures is the writing of the wise men of Israel. It is difficult to see how one may maintain this position, since the same record which states that God spoke orally the Ten Words at Sinai also claims that He spoke the rest of the Torah. If the numerous statements throughout the Tenach which say that the "word of the Lord" came to such and such a prophet are not true, since one is dependent upon the record which is preserved to him for his knowledge of what actually occurred, it is impossible to affirm that God spoke the "Ten Words." But the same record which states that God spoke these, also says He spoke the rest of it. One must accept all or reject all.C. Believers in "The Ten Words" and "Book of the Covenant"
There is another group of people who conscientiously believe that the Lord spoke the "Ten Words" and "The Book of the Covenant" (Ex. 21:1-24:8). What has just been said in the last paragraph is applicable with the same force to the position held by this group.D. Believers in the Torah or the Five Books of Moses
A still larger group believes confidently that God spoke the Torah, the Five Books of Moses, but did not inspire in the same degree the writings of the prophets and the Psalms. Hence the former are studied most minutely and are considered as authoritative and binding, whereas the latter are read largely as religious literature. The Five Books give overwhelming evidence that they are "The Word of God" in a special and unique sense, being the very thoughts and words which God gave to His servant Moses to deliver to His people. In this connection, for the purpose of strengthening faith in the inspiration of the Five Books of Moses, it is well to call attention to a few outstanding characteristics of these books, which differentiate them from the writings of uninspired men.II. TESTIMONY OF THE TORAH TO THE PROPHETS AND WRITINGS
A comparison of the cosmogonies of the ancient oriental nations with that set forth in Genesis shows clearly that the Genesis account stands in a class by itself. All of these ancient cosmogonies are characterized by polytheism, jealousy, hatred, and wars among the gods. Likewise, a confusion of thought and a general vagueness permeate them. In the Genesis account of creation, however, a pure monotheism shines forth in splendor and glory. Furthermore, the low moral tone of the other accounts is entirely absent from the Genesis record. In them there appears no well-defined progressive action, whereas in the Mosaic account appears the stately, forward march of the Eternal God in the unfolding of His great plan and purpose in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and of the restoration to order and beauty of the destroyed earth in anticipation of the creation of man.
There is a very close parallel between the Biblical account of bringing order out of chaos in Gen. 1 and the facts and data discovered by intelligent thoughtful scientists.³ Concerning the onward progressive development of the Mosaic account, Prof. Dana remarks: "The record in the Bible is therefore profoundly philosophical in the sense of creation which it presents. It is both true and divine. It is a declaration of authorship, both of creation and the Bible on the first page of the sacred volume" (Manual of Geology, p. 745). In the Biblio. Sacra, Jan., 1856, Prof. Dana states: "The first thought that strikes a scientific reader (of Genesis) is the evidence of divinity, not merely in the first verse of the record and the successive fiats, but in the whole order of creation. There is so much that the most recent readings of science have for the first time explained, that the idea of man as the author becomes utterly incomprehensible. By proving the record true, scientists pronounce it divine; for who could have correctly narrated the secrets of eternity but God Himself?"
A third characteristic which differentiates the Torah from the works of men is its high and holy system of ethics. An honest comparison of the ethical code of Moses with that found in the law of Hammurabi 4 proves conclusively that the author of the former was inspired by the Spirit of the Eternal, Holy God.
Again the scientific world has discovered the fact that the "Law of the Octave" is the fundamental principle underlying the physical world, the evidence of which is seen in the fact that it obtains in the fields of chemistry, music, color, snow flakes, etc. The same law, likewise, obtains in the Bible. In the first place, it is clearly seen that in the Hebrew text of Gen. 1:1 the number of words and also the number of letters are seven and twenty-eight. Hence two applications of THE LAW OF THE OCTAVE here are seen in the numbers seven and twenty-eight, the latter being a multiple of the former. This basic rule finds thousands of applications throughout the entire body of Scripture, which fact proclaims to the world, with no uncertain sound, that the Creator of the World, Who, speaking in a figure, placed the watermark of the Law of the Octave both in the material world and upon the Scriptures is the Creator of the Universe and the Author of the Scriptures. 5
The question arises at this point, How was it that the Author of Gen. 1 anticipated modern science by hundreds of years? The only plausible answer is that he received this knowledge by the inspiration of God through the Holy Spirit.
Once again, the inspiration of the Torah is seen in the accurate statement concerning the propagation of the species in the vegetable kingdom in the expression "bearing fruit after their kind." This statement, much overlooked by scientists, in the light of modern research appears sublime. Its significance was never realized fully by real scientists until in recent years. This statement is a Biblical way of expressing Mendel's law which was discovered by Gregor J. Mendel in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The results of his experiments were unknown to the scientific world until His work was discovered in 1900. Since then innumerable experiments have been made by painstaking investigators who have demonstrated the scientific accuracy of what is now known as "the law of alternative inheritance," or Mendel's law. The discovery of this law revolutionized scientific thinking. Bateson's definition of it is as follows: "The essence of the Mendelian principle is very easily expressed. It is, first, in great measure the properties of organisms are due to the presence of distinct detachable elements separately transmitted in heredity, and secondly, that the parent cannot pass on to the offspring an element and consequently the corresponding property, which it does not itself possess." Mendel simply proved the scientific accuracy of the Biblical expression. Another illustration of the scientific accuracy of the Torah is seen in the statement that the stars are innumerable. The Greek philosophers in the palmy days of Grecian history when human culture and education reached the highest points claimed that there were about 1028 stars. Modern science has demonstrated the accuracy of the Biblical account. The only way to account for the exact knowledge set forth in the Biblical record is to accept the only reasonable hypothesis, namely, that the Eternal God revealed these facts, then unknown to the world, to His servant Moses who wrote accurately what God revealed to him.
Hundreds of years prior to this time God, in promising a glorious posterity to Abraham, used the number of the stars as a comparison. How did the writer know that the stars were so very numerous, since the wisdom of the world limited their number to ten hundred and twenty-eight? As stated above, the only satisfactory answer is found in the thought that God's Spirit inspired the writer. Again, the Divine Source of knowledge which the writer of the Torah possessed is seen in the fact that the sanitary laws embodied in the Torah anticipated modern discoveries. Furthermore, a comparison of the code of Moses with the laws of Hammurabi of Babylon, who was a contemporary of Abraham (he being the "Amrafel" or Amraphel, of Gen. 14:1) shows the superiority of the Mosaic code to that of Hammurabi. The scintillations of Divine light flashing forth in these scientific statements and anticipating science by hundreds of years prove conclusively the Divine inspiration of the author.
A. Exposition of Deuteronomy 13:1-5
When one admits the Divine origin of the Five Books of Moses he is logically bound to accept the Divine origin and authority both of the Prophets and the Psalms, for Moses in two passages assumed unmistakably that God would raise up prophets for them who would deliver His Word to them.
In Deut. 13:1-5 Moses gave Israel the negative test whereby she could ascertain whether a man who claimed to be a prophet of God with a message of God to them was a prophet of God or not. He says, "If there arise in the midst of thee a prophet ... and he give thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, 'Let us go after other gods' ... thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet ... and that prophet ... shall be put to death."B. Exposition of Deuteronomy 18:20-22
The expression, "If there arise," etc., assumes the possibility of the appearance of prophets in their midst. The test by which they were to determine whether a prophet was true or false was this "and he give thee a sign ... and the sign come to pass saying, 'Let us go after other gods.'" The giving of this test assumed unmistakably that there would arise true prophets who would bring a message to them from God. The credentials which a prophet was to bring, said Moses, were that he should give a sign or wonder which was to come to pass. Of course, if the sign or wonder which he gave did not come to pass, it was self-evident that he was not sent from God; but if the sign or wonder did come to pass that fact was not in and of itself a sure guarantee that God had sent him, for there is a world of evil spirits which at various times worked through false prophets as they did through the magicians who opposed Moses when he went to deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage. These magicians possessed supernatural power which was from Satan, the adversary of God. If the sign or wonder came to pass the final test of the prophet was to be found in the character of his message, namely, if he said, "Let us go after other gods," that message was positive proof that the supernatural power which he manifested in giving the sign or wonder which came to pass was not from God but from the evil one. This test also assumed that if the message which the prophet brought was, "Let us go after the Lord," then this message was to be the final proof that God had sent the prophet.
Again in Deut. 18:20-22 God supplemented the original test in the following words, "But the prophet, that shall speak a word presumptuously in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die." This passage unmistakably assumes the appearance in Israel both of true and of false prophets. The identification of the true prophet is that he should speak in the Name of the Lord what the Lord commanded him to speak. Upon the appearance of a prophet speaking in the Name of the Lord, should Israel say in her heart, "How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken?" the absolute test of the prophet is found in the following words: "When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken: the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously, thou shalt not be afraid of him." Hence the final test of a prophet and his message was found in his speaking in the Name of the Lord, and in the fulfillment of the prediction. This same passage also assumes that two types of false prophets would appear: first, the one who speaks in the Name of God that which God had not commanded; secondly, the prophet who would speak in the name of other gods. According to this verse, if a prophet spoke in the Name of God presumptuously, or if he spoke a message in the name of the heathen gods, God positively says, "that same prophet shall die." The context shows that He is not talking about a natural death, for such would be no sign whereby Israel might know whether the message was true or false, when delivered by a prophet speaking presumptuously in the Name of God. Hence the death here coming to either type of false prophet is a judgment which God would send upon false prophets, whereby Israel would know conclusively that they were false. Such a prophet arose in the days of Jeremiah (Jer. 28:1-17) in the person of Hananiah, who spoke a message presumptuously in the Name of God and who died in the seventh month of the same year, which death was the judgment of God sent upon him, and which was God's method of showing Israel that Hananiah was a false prophet.
At different times in Israel's history God raised up prophets who, according to His promise in these passages from Deuteronomy, gave a sign in the Name of God which came to pass. The fact that they spoke in the Name of Israel's God and that the sign came to pass was God's absolute guarantee that these prophets were speaking His word just as Moses had, and that their words were as authoritative and binding upon Israel as those which he had given through Moses. Israel in the prophetic days was very cautious to ascertain what message was from God and what was not.
¹ The fundamental principle of rationalism is a predisposition and hostility toward all Divine interposition in the affairs of men. Hence for it a miracle is impossible. Since the miraculous element stands out most conspicuously throughout the historical books, they are by rationalistic scholars considered only as fallible works of men from which all miracles must be expunged as legends and fictitious history. Therefore they do not hesitate to use the "pen knife" to cut out all of this so-called unreliable legendary history. The process goes on ad liberatum.
To approach the record with a predisposition against miracles is most unscientific and unscholarly. To be scientific one must take the data which are supplied and investigate the same thoroughly. Many things today are being done which a century ago men would have pronounced absolutely impossible. Hence one is acting unwisely and unscientifically in approaching any subject with a decided predisposition, either for or against it. A passion for facts should be the governing principle. Historical facts are established by historical testimony. Logic and philosophy, though seemingly flawless, can never overthrow a fact that is established by genuine historical testimony.
The seemingly impossible does occur. If men who have learned many of the "laws of nature" can so manipulate, combine, and utilize them as to bring about results which Nature unaided cannot accomplish is it incredible that the Eternal God, the Creator of the Universe, Who subjected the material creation to certain laws, can manipulate, combine, and utilize these, His laws, and bring about results which are unknown to men? As an example of man's combining and utilizing the laws of nature and producing results which Nature alone could not accomplish, note the "heavier-than-air machines" which are commonplace with us today. The God who created this world can intervene whenever in His good will and pleasure He chooses. Hence a "miracle" is possible. What is a miracle? A miracle is an act of God which ordinarily He performs in a hidden and veiled manner (Isa. 45:15), but which, for some moral or spiritual purpose, He performs in an open and manifest way. When competent witnesses testify that God has intervened, the fact must be accepted as true.
² Considering the Hebrew Scriptures as works of men, the "critics" approach them as they do any ordinary document.
Allow the author to assert that the science of literary criticism has rendered an invaluable service to humanity, especially in its detecting fraudulent and fictitious documents, which have been used in the past by unscrupulous men for the purpose of promoting their own designs and purposes. But this noble science of literary criticism has been prostitute and, in an illegitimate and illogical manner, made to serve the purposes of rationalism.
With the tools of literary criticism rationalists have approached the Tenach and have dissected it, especially the historical portions, and have apportioned it to various writers who lived in the period of time beginning with the ninth century to the Maccabean period. Biblical criticism began with the dissection of the Torah. At the present time that theory which holds the field is what is known as the Documentary Theory. According to this hypothesis, Moses did not write the Torah, but there were two historians who lived some time during the seventh or eight centuries before the common era and who wrote histories from the creation of the world to their day. They are known as J and E. About the time of Josiah, who reigned about 622 before the common era, some priest, who wanted to exalt the sanctuary at Jerusalem, fabricated a code of laws in such an ingenious manner that he was successful in convincing the king and the people that it was an ancient code which had been delivered by Moses. This was the Deuteronomic Code. Later a school of prophets, following the lines of Ezekiel, drafted what is known as the Priestly Code. Finally, in the post-exilic days and probably in the days of Ezra there were "redactors" or editors who combined these various documents, editing and cementing them together with their own comments. Thus came into existence the Torah as it now stands. This theory has been carried to a most minute and detailed analysis by some so that it is claimed that there were several other documents used in the composition of the Torah.
The critics are very confident that with their critical apparatus they are able to dissect the Torah (and also the entire Tenach) into the exact original documents and to tell who wrote each sentence and word. Hence they speak most confidently of the "assured results" of criticism.
Since this age is highly scientific and pragmatic, the author would like to restate the challenge which has been proposed to the critics, but which, so far as he knows, has never been accepted. The challenge is this: let a committee of ordinary practical business men select, say, four different lengthy compositions on a certain subject written by different men who have a different outlook and whose education differs. Let them turn over two of these documents to some writer who will take them and weave them into a single document. In accomplishing this task the "redactor" is to make such changes and alterations as will serve his purpose: rejecting certain words, phrases, clauses, sentences, and paragraphs; adding such material as he wishes; and making such editorial revisions as are necessary. This work being done, let another "redactor" take this new composite document and another one of the originals and "edit" them, and from them produce another single document. Likewise, let a third take this second composite document and weave it together with the fourth original one. Then let the four original and the first two composite documents be put in a vault by this committee for safekeeping.
Then let the committee turn over exact copies of the final composite document into the hands of critics (experts) who possess special literary and analytical powers in order that they may restore each of the original documents and also each resultant new document. When the work has been finished let each critic submit his work to this committee who will in turn compare the "assured results" with the original documents.
If they are unable, with their critical apparatus, to dissect and to analyze such a modern document, apportioning to each writer his very words, no one can have confidence in their ability to dissect the Torah, which was completed, according to the critical theory, in the period between the Exile and the Maccabean period, and to restore the supposed original documents. If they cannot accurately dissect the Torah, neither can they any portion of the Tenach.
To ask the critic, by the test given above, to demonstrate his ability to restore original documents is no unreasonable request, for scholarship has been subjected to such an acid test, at least, once before. In order to prove that George Rawlinson had the proper clew to the deciphering of the cuneiform writing, the trustees of the British Museum gave lithographic copies of a long historical inscription (Tiglath-pileser I, ca. 1120-1100 B.C.) to four men who worked independently. When they had finished the work, the translations were submitted for comparison. To the unbounded joy of scholars these translations agreed substantially from beginning to end. Thus scholars demonstrated their ability to decipher the cuneiform inscriptions. Not until the literary critics are able to demonstrate by such a practical test their ability to restore original documents, is it reasonable for them to ask intelligent, thinking people to accept the "assured results" of Biblical criticism.
³ Many scientists endeavor to throw doubt on the Mosaic account of creation by affirming that the Bible asserts that the world in round numbers is about 6000 years old, whereas they believe they have absolute evidence that it has been in existence for hundreds of thousands of years. One of the reasons for such conclusions is based upon speculations concerning the various strata of the earth's surface. These speculations date back to the adoption of the "onion coat" theory of the earth first propounded by Werner. The current theories used in explaining the long "geological and prehistorical periods" or epochs are but modifications and adaptations of this long exploded, "onion coat" theory. To prove it resort is had to the supposed evidence furnished by such places as the Grand Canyon of the Colorado and the Niagara Falls and Gorge. Scientists today know the yearly rate at which these rivers are cutting their way through the strata of rocks. They measure the depths of these, gorges and the recession of the Falls and make their simple calculation by division. By so doing they assume that the same causes and conditions have existed from the beginning. But it is a well-known fact that according to the generally accepted theories concerning the glacial periods the same conditions have not prevailed upon the earth all along. This fact being true, conditions have varied, hence any estimates based upon such calculations are fallacious and unreliable.
Resort is, likewise, had to the evidence furnished by the anthropologists. Assuming what is only a theory and cannot be proved, that there are skulls and human remains that date back thousands of years, one does not have to surrender his faith in the Bible as the Word of God. In Gen. 1:2 is a record of the destruction of the earth which originally was created in a perfect condition (Isa. 45:18). In Gen. 1:28 God told Adam to "be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth." The word translated "replenish" is the same as used in Gen. 9:1 where God told Noah to replenish the earth. So far as our knowledge is concerned there may have been a pre-Adamic race upon the earth before the catastrophe of Gen. 1:2. If this theory (the author simply states the theory, but frankly admits that he does not know) is true, these ancient skeletons may be of the pre-Adamic race.
4 The similarities and verbal agreements between the Mosaic code and that of Hammurabi are so very pronounced and striking that most critics reach the conclusion that Moses borrowed many things from Hammurabi when he made his code; or worked over the former code, expunging from it all undesirable matter and altering the text to serve his purpose. That there is a very close and vital connection between the codes is beyond dispute. It is certain that Hammurabi did not borrow from Moses for the former lived, in round numbers, 400 years prior to the latter. Did Moses borrow from Hammurabi? To this question most critics answer in the affirmative; but the author begs to differ from them on this point, since the Mosaic writings give positive evidence of having been written by a man inspired by God Himself.
How, then, can these similarities be accounted for scientifically? Gen. 26:5 supplies what, to the author, seems to be the solution to the problem: "Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." From this passage it is absolutely certain that in the days of Abraham there were "commandments, statutes, and laws" which were in force and which God Himself had given. This passage becomes very luminous in the light of the facts presented in Gen. 14 from which one learns that Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. Evidently there was some kind of a "system of worship" or ritual over which he presided, since he was "priest of God Most High." Being king of Salem (Jerusalem), he ruled a kingdom in which laws were enforced. These laws and the ritualistic service were of divine origin.
Confirmatory evidence supporting the proposition that God gave a revelation which antedates the Mosaic is found in the fact that there were prophets outside the borders of Israel. As an example of one, note the prophecies of Balaam who was a Syrian and who endeavored to curse Israel (Num. 22-25). By some scholars it is asserted that many of the Messianic prophecies found in Egypt, which antedate the days of Moses by centuries and in which the names of the gods of Egypt appear, read like prophecies of the Tenach if the names of these heathen deities are expunged and the Name of the God of Israel inserted. These facts point very definitely to the conclusion that there were true prophets of God who lived and spoke messages of God prior to the days of Moses. These messages from God, however, were corrupted by men after they refused to retain God in their knowledge. The original meaning, however, still was conveyed, though veiled greatly, when read in the light of the pure unadulterated Word of God as it appears in the Tenach.
Instead of Moses' borrowing from Hammurabi, one would conclude that the similarities between the Hammurabi code and that of the revelation of God, as found in the Torah, may more scientifically be explained upon the basis that Hammurabi borrowed from these primitive revelations of God.
It is quite likely that the tradition preserved among the Hebrews that God offered His law first to all nations and, when they refused it, He gave it to Israel who accepted it, is to be traced historically to this primitive revelation. Since God is the Author both of the primitive revelation, from which, doubtless, Hammurabi borrowed the highest and best elements of his code, and since He is the Author of the Mosaic Code, it is easy to account for the similarities of the heathen code with that of the divine Mosaic Code.
5 In no other writings, either ancient or modern, does this phenomenon occur. This statement being a proven fact, the law of the octave which is stamped both upon the book of nature and the book of revelation proves without a doubt to the candid, careful investigator for truth that the Bible is the Word of the Living God Who created the heavens and the earth, and in Whom man lives and moves and has his being.
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