So what faith really comes down to is this:
- Is God trustworthy?
- Can I really trust God?
- Is He really who He says He is, or not?
- Will He really do what He says He’ll do, or not?
Now, the way we normally determine the level of someone’s trustworthiness is by comparing their words to their actions: Do they do what they say they’re going to do? Do they keep their promises? Are they really who they claim to be?
If we want to apply this test to God, how can we compare His words to His actions? How can we compare the words of God against the actions of God to see if they match up? We can look in the Christian Scriptures: the Holy Bible.
And we can ask the simple question: Does God keep His promises, or not? Does He follow through on what He says He is going to do, or not?
And as we search through these pages, we find that the Bible is replete with examples of God’s faithfulness to humanity, the most important of which being the prophesies regarding the provision of a Savior, and how every one of those prophesies was fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth.
Now, this is when the skeptic within says, “But how can you know?” “How do you know that everything in the Bible is true?” “How do you know that Jesus did all the things that the Bible says He did?”
I know because of the testimonies of the people who witnessed those things first-hand, wrote down what they saw, and submitted their eye-witness accounts to the scrutiny of an entire generation of people who had also witnessed those same events and verified the accuracy of what the Apostles’ wrote.
The authors of the New Testament knew that if their reports were inaccurate, plenty of people would have been very happy to point it out. The Romans, the Jewish political establishment, and several other prominent groups were eager to discredit Christianity. And yet, we have absolutely no ancient documents contemporary with the 1st-Century that contest the New Testament texts – NONE!
I know the Bible is true because the Apostles and the 1st-Century Christians had nothing to gain by sticking with their Jesus-Messiah story if it was a hoax. In fact, they had everything to lose if their story was a fraud, and most of them were willing to lose everything in this life because of the truth of their testimony.
Most world religions depend entirely upon the testimony of one, single, super-spiritual witness for their faith to be truth:
- Siddhartha Gautama meditates under a bodhi tree and single-handedly uncovers all the truths regarding Buddhism and nirvana.
- Mohammad enters a cave and comes out having had the entire Koran dictated to him by the angel Gabriel.
- Joseph Smith digs up a set of golden tablets that contain on them all the teachings of Mormonism.
In order to adhere to the doctrines of these faiths, you have to trust in the story one individual witness and accept that their singular, solitary account of what happened is real and accurate.
But get this: Jesus did not even testify to Himself. At all. Instead, an entire generation of people – made up of all different ages, walks of life, education levels, all socio-political strata – they all told the story of Jesus’ life for Him. And the agreement of the details of their testimonies has a purity and an accuracy that is unmatched by any other historical writings of any kind – whether secular or religious.
Think about it this way:
- How do we know the Visigoths sacked Rome?
- How do we know Genghis Khan ruled a vast Asian empire?
- How do we know London burned in a great fire in 1666?
- How do we know man walked on the moon in 1969?
I didn’t see the moon landing. I mean, ultimately, we’re all taking somebody’s word for it all, right? If we did not see or personally experience these events ourselves, then we are trusting that the people who did see or personally experience these events are telling us the truth. That they are giving an accurate account of what they saw and experienced.
Now, how do we examine the accuracy of eye-witness accounts? We evaluate the trustworthiness of the sources – the witnesses themselves – based on how they reported, how their stories line up with the stories of other eye-witnesses, and whether their word was accepted by their own contemporaries or not (as well as those in the centuries that immediately followed the events). Then, we look at all the artifacts from those events, the archeology – to see if it matches what they said…
We see all this and we reason – by faith – that what we have been told must be true. A group of people – a LARGE group of people saw or personally experienced these events. They recorded what they experienced in some way, whether in writing or on video or whatever. The generation that was alive throughout the time those events occurred confirmed the accuracy of their report. As did the generations that immediately followed and had the freshest, most reliable resources to judge the accuracy of their reports.
In the case of the moon landing, I trust an entire generation of people, from all different walks of life who say they saw it happen. So, I’m taking their word for it, but based on the evidence and the comparison of everyone’s testimonies, I believe they’re telling the truth.
There are many more reasons, all far more deep and soul-awakening, for believing the Bible is true. In part two of this series, I will dive into these reasons, and explain how faith-edifying an honest critical look into the historical existence of the Bible can be.