A Viennese waltz on whether you can believe the Bible
Hans (“Vox Populi”, p16) takes me to task over my suggestion that the Old Testament has not been found to contain any errors. My response is this: Why do you keep missing the basic points I’m making? The Old Testament is without error. Philosophically, to believe that it has error is to believe that we worship a God who cannot communicate accurately with humankind. I am familiar with the (mostly 19th century Austro Hungarian) argument that the OT was myth and allegory, but their views were based on invalid philosophical presuppositions – such as Hume’s denial of miracles – that have now been shown to be flawed.
So philosophical argument that the OT is faulty doesn’t stack up.
Which leaves us with the alternative – is there any objective evidence that the OT does contain errors – any errors?
None. That is the point I was making, no more, no less. After two thousand years of criticism and discovery, not one actual error has been found in the OT amongst what is still capable of verification four thousand years after the events. However, time and again historians have found that what they assumed to be erroneous references in the OT are in fact true (e.g., the discovery of the Hittite civilisation only last century).
Reason to disbelieve them could come from the natural world around us, but again (and I’m not attempting to be personal here because it applies to many) there is widespread ignorance about what the OT actually says. You, for example, suggest there’s no evidence of a worldwide flood 4000 years ago. Great. Now tell me where in the OT it says there was a worldwide flood “4000 years” ago?
This sort of strawman rubbish would be laughed out of most theological colleges but it survives in the pages of Skeptic Journals as if it is some kind of silver bullet.
Your bottom line premise is that there is no reason to take the OT as a true and accurate record of history. That’s your philosophical position, now provide me with some real instances where the Bible is wrong to support your premise with evidence.
You suggest all life is related. Perhaps it is, perhaps it isn’t. There is no direct scientific evidence of this, only speculation based on the circumstantial evidence. And the circumstantial evidence is effectively confined to the structure of cellular organisms and the fact that every living thing contains DNA. But I and others could equally look at the same evidence and speculate that it points to the existence of a common Intelligent Designer who used a blueprint to create life. Just as roads the world over are made of asphalt, because it works as a roading surface, so too does all life contain DNA, because that is the computer programme God designed to run life with. The mere fact that Brick “A” was found in the Victoria Park Market chimney, and Brick “B” forms part of the Sistine Chapel, does not imply that VPM and the Sistine Chapel are related. They are, but only to the extent they were designed by humans using a common design ingredient.
So here are a couple of biological posers for you: if random evolutionary change, driven by the engine of natural selection, is the reason for the wide variety of lifeforms on this planet, perhaps you can explain to me why it was only DNA-based organisms that formed life? Why do we not have a range of unconnected lifeforms if evolution was as simple and common an occurrence as you imply?
More intriguingly why is it, if evolutionists are correct, that all lifeforms would track back to one common ancestor? Why only one? Why not 500 different original species each giving rise to their own lineage?
Either God is powerful enough to raise Christ from the grave and defeat Evil, or he’s not. Either God by definition is a perfect being and the epitome of truth, or he is not. Either God can inspire his disciples to write his truth in the Old Testament, or he can’t. And if he can’t ensure that the OT is correct, why should we believe the NT?