The Way To Learn Truth & The Bible as History

Brian Kuehmichel
July 28, 2003, Updated Feb. 2013

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"...everything has a past. Everything - a person, an object, a word, everything. If you don't know the past, you can't understand the present and plan properly for the future." Chaim Potok, Davita's Harp

The Way To Learn Truth

The scientific method is only one way to learn truth. By definition the scientific method requires repeatable events. That means they must be examined and reexamined under the same circumstances until they are understood by those inquiring. Most events that occur day by day among and between people or happen to people by forces of nature DO NOT fall under that category and must be viewed by another method. That method is called the evidential method. The evidential method takes oral and or written communication (testimony) and other physical evidence (testimony) to reconstruct the details about a circumstance or event and to verify it beyond reasonable doubt (Ex: courts of law, news reports, documentaries, journals, diaries, et cetera). That is the basis of verifying any and all historical events including those recorded in the Bible.

There is a popular misconception that science is an impersonal, dispassionate, and thoroughly objective enterprise. by Paul Davies, in Richard P. Feynman, Six Easy Pieces: Essentials of Physics, Intro.

"[T]here is a standard by which all ancient books are tested today called Aristotle's Dictum which states we must listen to the claims of any and all documents under analysis and not assume fraud or error unless the author(s) disqualify themselves by contradiction or error."

The military historian C. Sanders in his book "Introduction in Research in English Literary History" New York: Macmillan Co., 1952. developed a procedure for testing any ancient document's validity or authenticity. This same process abundantly validates the Holy Scriptures.

1. Bibliographical (i.e., the textual tradition from the original document to the copies and manuscripts of that document we possess today)

2. Internal evidence (what the document claims for itself)

3. External evidence (how the document squares or aligns itself with facts, dates, persons from its own contemporary world).

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The Bible as History

A special thing happened yesterday to somebody else! Who cares about those events, they didn't happen to me? Is that your view of history? What if that is exactly how others feel about things that occurred in your experience? You think your experience has some value since it was personal to you, you were impacted by the experience, and by that logic the experiences of others have value, too. Those experiences, written or told, are history. But, why should history be important?

History is the collective experience of people and may be short or long, detailed or general, digested for lessons or glossed over. History conveys to successive generations what transpired in the lives of people who lived for a while, died and have now faded into the mists of the past. History conveys information leading to instruction and from instruction to changed behavior.

Biblical history takes pieces of God's choosing out of the past, and puts them before mankind to convey a message to the living about God Himself, His creation, His purposes, man made in His image, and the significant events of some of mankind relevant to those living in the present. This history tells of our origin, our special difference from animals, our value before God and relationship with Him, how we came to do harm to one another, why we experience suffering and pain, and that we are under bondage to decay and death. It also builds the necessary evidence that points to and verifies Jesus as the promised Messiah.

Scoffers hold the Biblical account in derision by mocking its accuracy, integrity, reliability, relevance, morality, and justice. If the scoffers are correct then the purpose of recording the past, as the Bible has done, has no value and it is just a myth. By the same reasoning every other account by an historian is just so much folly, too, for each account purports to record past events and make some sense of them by bringing into the text the relevant parts for the benefit of those in the present. If the accuracy, integrity, reliability, relevance, morality and justice of the Bible is questioned so also is every other author's recapitulation of past events since these author(s):

a. were not there in each circumstance,

b. did not live through every event,

c. could not see all things from a complete and unbiased comprehension,

d. and know from that perspective the relevance for the present.

We believe that God has superintended the authorship of the Bible and done so in such a manner that:

  1. the information is true to facts of person, place, time and situation,
  2. the facts are tested by those in recent memory of those events for integrity and reliability,
  3. the accounts often convey the morality and justice, or its lack, involved in the recorded events,
  4. and these accounts are relevant to us because we are all of "one flesh", one human family.

Resources: Evidence for God and the Bible

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