Can the Bible be trusted?
Some People Believe the Bible has to be Scientifically proven. However the definition of science tells us that science cannot prove (or disprove) the Bible. Dr. James Constant, former president of Harvard, writes, "science is an interconnected series of concepts or conceptual schemes that have developed as a result of experimentation or observation..."Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines Science as "knowledge covering general truths of the operation of general laws, esp. as obtained and tested through the scientific method [and] concerned with the physical world."
The Scientific method goes way back to the time of the Greeks in which they "tested and tried different ways until one was found to be true. The modern scientific method is stated simply as the following
1.Create a question about the world
2.Create a hypothesis
3. Design an experiment
4.Experiment and collect data
5. Draw conclusions from the experiment
6.Culminate them to others
By this definition, science can only deal with things that apply to science. As hard as it is for me to admit, science cannot answer every question. Science is depraved of answering the questions of history. I do not deem either of these to to be imperial over the other but instead that the two work together. Where History is unable to answer (such the question: Can radiation help cancer?) Science can come to the forefront to help. Whereas when Science cannot answer (such the question: Was Martin Luther a great man?) must be left to History. It is only History that can aid us in questions of the past. Did george Washington cross the Delaware? How many men were killed at Bunker Hill? ect. These are all questions for History to manage.
However, if we cannot prove it scientifically, let us look at historically.How can we "prove something Historically? C. Sanders, military historian, lists three test of historiography. The biographical test, the internal evidence test and the external evidence test.
The Biographical Test
The Biographical test tests tha document's textual transmission, which the document reaches us by, or how long a time elapses from the original to later copies.
With the New Testament, more than 20,000 copies exist both bridging any time gap and making it the highest on that score table.
The Internal Evidence Test
The internal evidence is the evidence or continuity of the manuscript itself. Continuity in eyewitness accounts is one of the prime ways to test using the internal evidence test. The Bible was compiled by many different men spanning some few hundred years. All of them could not have been crack-pots with the same hair-brained ideas. Furthermore the preciseness and vividness of the Bible could not have been so well lied about.
The writers addressed others in the text saying, "Ye Also know this." If it had been a lie, this statement would have been rammed right back down their throats.
The External Evidence Test
In the External evidence test, other material must support or deny the document. Archaeologist Joseph Free writes, "Archaeology confirmed countless passages which have been rejected as unhistorical or contrary to known facts." Archaeology caused Sir William Ramsey to change his view that Luke was historically incorrect and "come to the conclusion that the Book of Acts was accurate in it's description of Geography, antiquities and the society of Asia Minor." F.F. Bruce and A.N. Serwin-white, a classical historian, agree with the ideas of Ramsey.
This, however, only proves that the Bible is historically accurate. It was about a real person and real places. How this affects the way we read it is another matter that we shall not dive into here. Whether or not it is a real text does not mean that it has to be read any differently than The Iliad or the Odessa. But the possibility of the texts being true to actual events can affect the reality of what it teaches.
- Letter to the Editor: Vernon County Broadcaster, November 9, 2009
- More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell