The Inspiration and Inerrancy of Scripture
The Scientific Statements of the Bible and Inerrancy
Ron Jones, D.D., Titus Institute
Scripture quotations are from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version), © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The Inspiration and Inerrancy of Scripture The Sccientific Statements of the Bible and Inerrancy Session 4
We are in a series entitled The Inspiration and Inerrancy of Scripture.
In this series we are answering the question, "Is the Bible inspired by God and therefore inerrant, that is, true in all that it affirms?"
We are studying four points.
W1 The Inspiration of the Bible and Inerrancy W2 The Truth of the Bible and Inerrancy W3 The Historical Statements of the Bible and Inerrancy W4 The Scientific Statements of the Bible and Inerrancy
We are going to base what we learn about these areas on what Jesus and his apostles taught.
We have learned that Jesus and the Apostles taught the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture in three simple statements.
All of the Bible is the Word of God. All of the Word of God is true. Therefore all of the Bible is true.
We have established that Jesus and the Apostles taught that all of the Bible is true in everything that they affirm not only concerning spiritual and moral truth but concerning people, places, events, and physical phenomena.
"Inerrancy means that the Scriptures in the original autographs when properly interpreted are true in everything that they affirm not only concerning spiritual and moral truth but concerning people, places, events, and physical phenomena."
Last week, we looked at what the Bible says regarding the historical and geographical.
This week we come to the "scientific" statements. "Scientific statements" is probably not the best way to phrase what the Bible says in this area. The Bible is not a scientific book. It describes events and the physical phenomena of the earth, but does not do it using scientific technical language which we will see. The Bible is pre-scientific, that is, it describes events and physical phenomena for people who do not have a knowledge of science as defined by the western world.
Our main point this week is
4. If all of the Bible is true, then all of the statements in the Bible about the physical phenomena of nature and God's supernatural power displayed in nature are true.
Jesus and the apostles never separated the descriptions of the physical phenomena of the earth and universe in OT revelation from their spiritual truths. It was all the revelation of God.
In this area, there are two issues where it is claimed that the Bible has scientific errors in it.
4.1 The Bible displays supernatural phenomena that are scientifically impossible and therefore has errors in it.
4.2 The Bible displays an ancient misunderstanding of the physical phenomena of the universe and therefore has errors in it.
Let's begin with 4.1
4.1 The Bible displays supernatural phenomena that are scientifically impossible and therefore has errors in it (if they are understood as actual events).
Many people eliminate any conflict with science by simply saying the "supernatural occurrences" in the Bible are myths, stories that teach truth, but did not actually happen.
But what did Jesus and the apostles say about these supernatural acts by God?
Jesus and the Apostles accepted the Bible's supernatural phenomena as actual acts of God working his divine power in the lives of his creatures, which according to secular science is impossible.
Science has been taken over by naturalism, the belief that there is no such thing as supernatural beings or phenomena. It believes that there is no such thing as a supernatural event. There are no miracles. Everything has to be explained by natural causes.
Historically this has only been true since the mid 1800's.
Secular Science has a powerful influence on society and in our lives and can make us feel intimidated.
This presupposition is the direct opposite of the Bible. The Bible is full of the miraculous, God working his divine power in the lives of people.
I have listened to countless debates of Christian scholars with non-Christian scholars and it always gets down to a conflict about the supernatural.
An unbeliever who does not believe in miracles will never accept any kind of record of miracles. Period.
However, we are Christians we accept miracles by God. That is the basis of our faith. Never apologize for believing in miracles in the Bible. That is what faith is. The Son of God becoming a man is the ultimate miracle.That is what we center our faith in.
Hebrews 11:1-3 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, "so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible."
This verse is telling us that we cannot prove the supernatural (can't be seen), it must be understood and accepted by faith (not seen).
We can spend as many hours as we possibly could trying to figure out how to prove God created the heavens and the earth, but we cannot prove it because the is beyond our comprehension.
When we try to debate unbelievers, we do well with the physical evidence, but we always come to a standstill at the supernatural, because all we can say is "it happened and we believe it."
How God did a miracle cannot be explained. We cannot explain the supernatural. And that is okay because that is what God desires.
Jesus and the Apostles taught that miracles really happened and that God did the impossible both in OT times and NT times.
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit brings up creation as he defines what faith is because creation is the primary event that secular science disputes which forms a basis for understanding all subsequent miracles.
The Bible teaches that God created the universe and humans.
This event is challenged by modern day scientists and cause many to charge the Bible with errors.
Secular science does not recognize the existence of God and therefore cannot accept a creation of the universe and man by God. But that is what the Bible teaches.
Notice that Hebrews 11:3 says that God created the universe by his word "so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible."
"What is seen" = "the physical heavens and earth" and "what is not visible" (in this context) = "nothing."
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
A simple and clear statement of the origin of the universe.
This is a statement that God first created the physical material universe and then in the following verse, God shaped it into the form we see it today.God created something out of nothing and formed it.
Secular scientists always end up saying that they do not know where the raw material for the big bang came from. We do. God created it.
Key Point: If God created the heavens and the earth, there is no miracle God cannot do in the heavens and earth he created.
Once a person accepts Genesis 1:1 (that God is an infinite being that created the universe and the world with his infinite power and is therefore able to control it) there is no miracle mentioned in the Bible that cannot do. Period.
Does God have the power to suspend all natural processes for a moment in time and then start them again without any negative consequences if he so chooses?
Let's look at three examples of the supernatural from the Scriptures which are described in the Old Testament and New Testament and declared impossible by science.
These three examples are
The creation of Adam and Eve The swallowing of Jonah by the great sea creature The miracles and resurrection of Jesus Christ
Each of these events are disputed by secular historians and scientists and yet each of these events are taught as true by Jesus and his apostles.
1. The Bible teaches that God created Adam and Eve
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Genesis 1 gives a general statement of God's creation of Adam and Eve. Then Genesis 2 goes back and gives details on exactly how it happened.
Where did Adam and Eve come from? God created them.
This was a regular Hebrew practice in writing, to give a general statement, then go back and fill in the details.
Genesis 2:7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
Genesis 2:21-24 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Notice, in 2:24, God establishes marriage right at the beginning when he first creates Adam and Eve.
Here's the question, "Is this passage symbolic/mythological or did it literally happen as stated?"
What did Jesus and the apostles say about this?
Jesus accepted this account of creation.
Jesus makes a clear statement that God created the world. Jesus was a creationist.
Jesus also believed in the direct creation of man and woman by God and their relationship as the first couple as it is stated in Genesis 1 and 2.
Matthew 19:3-6 3 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?" 4 He answered, "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate."
"Read" means "read" in the OT = in Genesis 1 and 2
Jesus takes the two general statements in Gen.1 and 2 and puts them together to support his point. Jesus believed that God created male and female exactly as Genesis states.
Jesus directly quotes Genesis 1:27. He refers to the first marriage of a literal couple, Adam and Eve, by referring to the statement of their marriage in Gen.2:24 which only makes sense if they existed.
Jesus is supporting a principle that affects real life marriages and he uses a real life example of the first creation and marriage exactly as Genesis states.
Later Jesus refers to the first-born son of Adam and Eve, Abel.
Matthew 23:34-35 34 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35 so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar.
Jesus mentions here, the son of Adam and Eve, Abel who was martyred at the hands of Cain, their other son. There is no way in the context that Jesus could be speaking of a mythical or symbolic person.
Abel's blood was shed by the hand of his brother Cain. Jesus is saying Abel is the first martyr. How can he be talking about a symbol or legend when he is talking about spilt blood?
He is rebuking the Pharisees and judging them as representatives of the nation of Israel who killed the prophets God sent beginning with Abel. The prophets were real men and so was Abel. These Jewish leaders were guilty of real sins.
If Abel was real, then his father and mother, Adam and Eve were real.
The Apostles show further what Jesus taught.
Paul refers to Adam and Eve as real human beings whom God created as Genesis says.
1 Corinthians 15:45 quotes Genesis 2:7 Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit."
In supporting the truth of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ and our subsequent bodily resurrection as believers, he compares the physical body with the resurrected glorified body and appeals to Genesis 2:7 and compares God giving physical life to Adam and Christ as the last Adam giving spiritual life to his followers.
If Adam had not really existed and been directly created by God, he could not be used in a comparison with a very real Jesus Christ about a very serious subject as giving eternal life and resurrection to people.
But what about Eve? Did Paul believe that she existed? Yes.
1 Timothy 2:13 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.
In v.13 Paul refers to the specific order of creation in Genesis 2.In v.14, Paul refers to the fall of Adam and Eve exactly as described in Genesis 3. This is in absolute agreement with Genesis 3. 2. The swallowing of Jonah by the great sea creature The story of Jonah - Matt. 12:39-41; Luke 11:29-32 Matthew 12:38-41 38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, "Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you." 39 But he answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here."
V. 40 "a great fish"
In Mat. 12:40, the Greek word is "khtos," when used of this creature means "a huge sea creature" or "great fish." It does not specifically mean whale.
The word is used very generically and could refer to mammals. It is not just used in the strict biological use of the term "fish."
The Hebrew word used for "fish" in the book of Jonah is also a general word that can mean a great sea creature.
God does not give any indication what kind of sea creature it was except it was big enough to swallow a man whole and keep him in its stomach for three days and three nights.
I have read that there have been reports in the past of men swallowed by sperm whales or great, huge sharks and survived.
Whatever kind of sea creature it was, this was a miraculous supernatural act of God. Not only moving the fish to swallow Jonah, but also keeping Jonah alive three days and three nights without being eaten up by the acid of the fish's stomach or drowning or suffocating or whatever.
This is a miracle. It does not have to be explained by natural means.
Why did God do such a miracle?
Because Jonah was on a ship in the middle of the ocean fleeing from God's mission to preach to the Ninevites. God brought a great storm which caused Jonah to realize that God was after him. Instead of repenting and praying that God would still the storm Jonah told the sailors to throw him overboard so he could die. He would rather have died than preach to the Ninevites because the Jews hated them.
So God disciplines Jonah. If you read the text carefully, you find out that God allowed Jonah to sink as far as he could and just before he lost consciousness, this huge sea creature scoops him up. He sits there three days and three nights (which was purposely done by God to parallel the resurrection) in those awful circumstances until the creature vomits him on the shore.
Do you think that this got Jonah's attention? It did.
Just as in Genesis it is all given in a narrative form and there is no indication that it is myth or legend or allegory in the book of Jonah itself.
Jesus rebukes the Jews for asking for a sign to prove his messiahship out of unbelief.
He tells them that they are a wicked generation.
The only sign that will be given is the one that parallels the three days and three nights of Jonah in the belly of the great fish when he will be buried three days and three nights in the earth and come out of the earth as Jonah came out of the great fish.
He then warns them that at the last judgment the men of Nineveh will be there and will condemn them for not believing in Jesus when he was among them because they believed Jonah, a prophet, when he was among them.
Using legends and myths or allegories to warn the Jews about two important realities as the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus and the last judgment is not reasonable to assume.
Real past examples teach real present truths.
3. The miracles and resurrection of Jesus Christ
Naturalistic science denies the supernatural in any form.
Jesus is the Son of God who came in the flesh and demonstrated that he was God by doing miracles and rising from the dead.
John 5:36 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me.
Jesus' miracles bore witness to his true identity. These miracles were done in the presence of many people everywhere Jesus went. The records of the miracles were then written down and kept by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The Gospels bear witness to the miracles that Jesus did.
And they bear witness to his greatest miracle, his resurrection from the dead.
Jesus predicted his death and resurrection.
Matthew 17:22-23 22 As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, 23 and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day." And they were greatly distressed.
All four Gospels record that Jesus resurrected from the dead.
Paul talked about Jesus' resurrection.
1 Corinthians 15:1-8 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.
Supernatural miracles cannot be analyzed and explained, even if we were there when they happened. They are an act of God as supreme ruler of the universe.
Science does not want to recognize that. However, we do. But if these things really happened as the apostles said they did, they how do we come to know it if we don't try to seek out knowledge of it?
Those who do not accept the supernatural will never come to a knowledge of the truth which is about the supernatural.
I picked three of the biggest miracles that are repudiated by scientists or those Christians who have been caught in the naturalistic scientific lie.
"Is the Bible inerrant, that is, true in everything that it affirms not only concerning spiritual and moral truth but concerning people, places, events, and physical phenomena.?"
Jesus and the apostles taught that:
All of the Bible is the Word of God. All of the Word of God is true. Therefore all of the Bible is true.