Lesson 3

But Did It Really Happen?

(Revelation 14, Psalms 73, Matthew 19, Luke 17, John 7)
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Introduction: Last week we looked at the way in which nature affects our belief in the existence of God. We decided nature proves that there is a power above mankind. We ended on the note that it would be logical for the God who created us to want to communicate with us. This week we continue along our line of logic to examine the issue of the reliability of God's communication. Let's dig in!

  1. THE BIBLE AND TRUTH


    1. Do you believe the Bible is God's inspired message to mankind?


    2. If so, is that belief based on faith, evidence or demonstration?


      1. Let's vote here.


      2. Those who say your belief in the Bible is based on demonstration, tell me what demonstration you have seen?


      3. Those who say your belief is based on evidence, tell me about your evidence?


      4. Those who say your belief is based on faith, tell me why you have faith?


      5. (I vote for evidence and not mere faith. The Biblical account of creation is more consistent with the evidence around me. Three reasons: First, I do not believe that we evolved (came to be where we are by chance) when man, with all his intelligence, cannot even create something simple like a hand. Second, science continually discovers that our universe operates according to laws and patterns. This is consistent with an intelligent Creator and inconsistent with chance. Third, everything I own proves the Second Law of Thermodynamics (that disorder increases with time). This directly contradicts the evolutionary idea that matter becomes more orderly with time.)


    3. Do we need to sweat the details of the Bible? Does it really matter, for example, whether the details in the Biblical account of Creation and the Flood are correct?


      1. If you think the details matter, tell me why?


      2. Let's look at Revelation 14:6-7. This is the message of the first angel of the three angels who bring the end-time message to the world.


        1. What is this angel proclaiming? (The "eternal gospel.")


        2. What does the angel actually say? (Fear God and give Him glory because the time of judgment has come.)


        3. The angel mentions creation. What has creation got to do with fearing God or giving Him glory? (If God created us, then we owe Him a debt of gratitude and respect.)


          1. Does creation have anything to do with the gospel or judgment? (If God created us, He can certainly recreate us. He also has the power and authority to judge us.)


        4. Do you think that this angel believes the details of creation are important? (Yes! The historical event of creation is the basis for the angel's "argument" that we should comply with the gospel message. Without a belief in Creation, the gospel loses its power.)


  2. THE SCIENTIFIC BIBLE?


    1. Let's consider a theory of life upon which we all agree: we all agree that gravity pulls things down. Here is a penny. I'll hold it out and let it go. Will it fall down? Or will it rise up? The fact that it falls down every time I try this shows our theory of gravity is correct, right?


      1. Is the Bible like that? Are there "theories" in the Bible that you have seen proven in your life?


        1. If so, tell me about them.


        2. What about the Ten Commandments? Do you find they are rules that work? Rules that have reproducible results?


        3. Are the "theories" of the Bible always proved true in your experience? (Read Psalms 73:2, 12-13, 16-17. (Reading this whole section is helpful.))


          1. Does the Psalmist say that obedience to God always seems to work out better? (No! He starts out complaining that it does not.)


          2. Verses 16-17 seem to indicate that he ultimately is satisfied that God's way is best. Why? (Because he looks at the eternal destiny of the righteous versus the wicked. He sees that sin causes death in the Temple service.)


            1. Do you have to wait until the Second Coming to see God's way proven to be superior? Can you see that sin causes death and a diminished living experience now? (In my experience you do not have to wait, you can see these things now.)


  3. THE SELF-AUTHENTICATING BIBLE?


    1. Lawyers often want to admit documents into evidence at trial. Documents cannot be placed into evidence unless someone can authenticate them - testify that they are what they appear to be. There is an exception to that rule for "self-authenticating" documents. These documents show, on their face, that they are authentic. For example, government documents carrying a certification from the appropriate legal authority are self-authenticating.


      1. Is the Bible "self-authenticating?" Does it carry its own seal of authenticity?


        1. How could the Bible contain a "certification from the appropriate legal authority?"


      2. Turn with me to Matthew 19:3-6 and Luke 17:26-27. What is Jesus' attitude towards the controversial stories of Creation and the Flood?


        1. Does Jesus seem to accept them as written?


        2. Is Jesus the appropriate legal authority to authenticate the Bible?


    2. Turn with me to John 7:12, 14-19a. What question do the people have about Jesus? (Some debate whether He is a good or bad man. Jesus pushes the question to another height - is He sent from God?)


      1. Can the questions of the people be answered? Can we tell whether Jesus' teaching comes from God or was His own?


      2. What kind of test does Jesus suggest? (Jesus says (v.17) that we (those who choose to do God's will) can test Him. He suggests two tests: 1)Whether He was working for His own honor or the honor of God; 2) Whether it squares with the Law.)


        1. Do you need the Bible to apply the first test?


        2. Do you need the Bible to apply the second test? (Although we might argue that you need the Bible to know that self-glory is not the goal, the first test seems to be a matter of observing Jesus. The second test is clearly a matter of knowing what is in the Bible.)


      3. (Jesus lays out a very interesting argument here. He starts out (as we ended our discussion last week) with an assumption that His listeners believed in an intelligent God. Then He says that we can know if He is from that God because of the nature of His actions (bringing glory to God and not Him) and that God will help us to discern the truth. Jesus then ties in the Ten Commandments by suggesting that someone who keeps them works for the glory of God and not himself. Thus Jesus makes both an argument for Himself and the Bible. Each help to prove the other.)


  1. A BIBLE WITHOUT ORIGINAL IDEAS?


    1. Our lesson reminds us that several ancient civilizations had stories that contain elements of the Biblical account of Creation and the Flood.


      1. Does that increase or decrease your belief in the Bible?


        1. Does this tend to show the Bible is just a copy of common ideas in other civilizations?


        2. Or does the commonality of these themes tend to prove their truth? (Evolutionists point out the commonality of the design among animals as evidence of evolution. I view it as evidence of a master design. The fact that several ancient cultures have similar stories about Creation and the Flood tends to prove that the event happened, rather than proving the stories were made up.)


  2. THE PRACTICAL IMPACT OF SWEATING THE DETAILS.


    1. We discussed earlier how God uses the details of the Bible to prove His power.


      1. What difference, if any, would it make to your day to day life if the Bible were not totally true?


      2. What difference would it make to your witness to others if the Bible were not totally true?


        1. To resolve any debate do you have to have a common standard of truth? (Absolutely. The first thing a lawyer does to resolve an issue is to find out what the law says. The lawyer then argues from an application of the law to the facts.)


        2. Is it important to have a common standard for truth in scientific research? (The quest is to find first how nature operates and then argue a conclusion from that. In those fields of learning where there is no scientific standard, every man's opinion is just as good as the opinion of anyone else. Those are the fields of "science" where we find the most ridiculous conclusions.)


        3. Do we need a common standard in religion? (Yes! This is like any debate, like any truly scientific study. Unless you can agree that the Bible is the standard of truth, debate and discussion are worthless because one opinion is just as good as the next.)


        4. Friend, you cannot separate God's opinion from your opinion in day to day life unless you believe in the truth of the Bible. If you believe in this standard, you have a reliable guide for living - straight from the Manufacturer!


  3. NEXT WEEK: CREATION IN SIX DAYS

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