How do we know Christianity is true?

19 June 2013 by Ruby Faraday

 

It is common when reading the Bible, for both Christians and non-Christians, to come across portions of scripture which may seem strange, inconsistent or just plain wrong. This may lead to the reader questioning the validity of the Bible, or even Christianity itself.

 

the-holy-bible

 

Given this problem, how do we know the Bible and Christianity are true?

One of the ways to answer this question is to apply methodical tests requiring reason and logic, evidence and proof. If science or art can be evaluated in this manner, there is no reason why the same cannot be done for religion. This is what I will do in this article.

 

1. Consistency

The first test is consistency i.e. whether different parts of the Bible agree with each other.

The Bible is consistent and does not contradict itself under intense scrutiny. In fact, scripture complement each other. To interpret scripture, you will need to make sure it is understood with another scripture. Also, when studying passages of scripture, you will need to understand it as a whole.

For instance, Proverbs 26:4 – 5 states,

“Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.”
 

At first glance, this verse shows contradiction but after careful examination, the last part of the verse shows a variation from the previous verse. The first verse demonstrates that we should demonstrate to the fool that his ideas are not as wise as he presumes it to be. However, the second verse comes into place when defending one’s stand.


For example, let us examine Proverbs 26: 4 – 5:


4Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
    or you yourself will be just like him.
 5Answer a fool according to his folly,
    or he will be wise in his own eyes.

 

Let us take the “do not answer” point.  When someone says, “I don’t see how a Christian can claim Christianity to be true when science has disproven the Bible”. You then start by saying that, “I beg to differ. Science has proven the Bible to be true. In fact, many areas in the Bible have been proven by science.” At this juncture, it will be good to give examples.

Now, let us examine the “answer the fool” point. When someone says, “Right and wrong are subjective. There is no such thing as right and wrong”. You answer the folly with, “That means whatever you say now can be wrong tomorrow. Even the statement that you just made might sound right now, but it will be wrong tomorrow. Therefore, there are no ultimate truths.”

 

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Image 1: Ways to answer a fool (Source: Answers in Genesis)

 

If we were to look into other faiths such as Buddhism, it speaks about ridding the world of poverty and desire. To rid oneself of desire is a desire in itself. Though it speaks about ridding the world of poverty, in the end it contradicts itself.

 

2. Empirical evidence

Archaeological discoveries have proven many Biblical events. For instance, as stated in Joshua, the walls of Jericho did in fact collapse. Another archaeological finding is that the cities of the plain: Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim and Bela (Zoar) form part of ancient trade routes.

 

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Image 2: The five plains used as trade routes. (Source: Bible Archaeology)

 

3. Existential framework

Mankind is born with a framework to search for one’s origins, meaning, morality and destiny (termed the Big 4).

It is this very reason we can see many fields in arts and science that search for the beginning of mankind, code of conduct, purpose and journey to accomplish one’s dream. Though many religions claim exclusivity, it is the Judeo-Christian worldview that can take the four main questions (origins, meaning, morality & destiny) with corresponding truth and coherence that stand the test of time. It is from here we see hope and meaning in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

 

4. Ultimate Standards/Benchmarks

What are the benchmarks used to define right and wrong? How do we know that wrong is wrong and right is right? Is there such thing as absolute truth? Even logic indicates that there shouldn’t be contradiction. Most people say that there are a lot of contradictions in the Bible by taking one verse and expounding on it. However, they fail to read the Bible and interpret it with scriptures and read the whole verse as it is.

This can be seen when the adulteress was brought to Jesus (John 8: 1 – 11). Jesus knew the law; he did not do away with the law but rather convicted the accusers through the law. His ultimate goal was to fulfill the law.

Post-modernism teaches that there is no absolute truth but this idea claims one absolute truth, that their stand is absolutely true. Though true in their eyes, a lie is a lie.

 

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Image 2: Are there absolute truths? (Source: CM13Web)

 

Also note that when finding the truth, there is only one right and the rest wrong. When looking at all religions, it will only speak about the existence of the Universe or only the existence of God. Only in Christianity, Islam and Judaism will you hear about the existence of both God and the Universe. Now when these three religions are under scrutiny, we learn that only in Christianity, Christ is God whereas the other two claim that he is not.

When it comes to absolutes, there is only one. Jesus cannot be both God and not God. It contradicts itself. Logic points to Christianity claiming exclusivity in this field.

Historically, Jesus dying on the Cross can be read in Greek, Roman, Pagan, Jewish and Christian history except for Islam.

 

5. Prophecies Fulfilled

The fulfillment of prophesy lends strong support to the validity of scripture. For example, Daniel 2 spoke of the fall of three world empires (i.e. the Roman Empire). If the Bible were not true then how could it have been able to predict events that have come to pass?

There is a long list of prophecies regarding Christ’s birth, nature, ministry and death which have come to pass. It would be bizarre to see these as mere coincidence.

Concerning his birth

Prophesized

Fulfilled

Born of the seed of woman

Gen 3:15

Gal 4:4

Born of a virgin

Isa 7:14

Mt 1:18 -25

Seed of Abraham

Gen 22:18

Mt 1:18 -25

Seed of Isaac

Gen 21:12

Lk 3:23 & 34

Seed of Jacob

Num 24:17

Luk 3:34

Seed of David

Jer 23:5

Lk 3:31

Tribe of Judah

Gen 49:10

Rev 5:5

Family line of Jesse

Isa 11:1

Lk 3:32

Born in Bethlehem

Mic 5:2

Mt 2:1 – 6

Herod kills the children

Jer 31:15

Mt 2: 16 – 18

     

Concerning his nature

Prophesized

Fulfilled

He pre-existed creation

Mic 5:2

1 Pet 1:20

He shall be called Lord

Ps 110:1

Acts 2:36

Called Immanuel (God with us)

Isa 7:14

Mt 1: 22 -23

Prophet

Deut 18: 18 – 19

Acts 3:18 – 25

Priest

Ps 110:4

Heb 5: 5 – 6

Judge

Isa 33:22

Jn 5: 22 – 23

King

Ps 2:6

Jn 18: 33 – 37

Anointed by the Spirit

Isa 11:2

Mt 3: 16 – 17

His zeal for God

Ps 69:9

Jn 2: 15 – 17

     

Concerning his ministry

Prophesized

Fulfilled

Preceded by a messenger

Isa 40:3

Mt 3:1 – 3

To begin in Galilee

Isa 9: 1 – 2

Mt 4: 12 – 17

Ministry of Miracles

Isa 35: 5 – 6

Mt 9:35; 11:4

Teacher of parables

Ps 78: 1 – 4

Mt 13: 34 – 35

He was to enter the temple

Mal 3:1

Mt 21: 10 – 12

Enter Jerusalem on donkey

Zech 9:9

 Mt 21: 1 – 7

Stone of stumbling to Jews

Isa 28:16; Ps 118:22

1 Pet 2: 6 – 8

Light to Gentiles

Isa 49:6

Acts 13: 46 – 48

     

 

 

 

His Death

Prophsized

Fulfilled

Betrayed by a friend

Ps 41:9

Jn 13: 18 – 27

Sold for 30 pieces of silver

Zech 11:12

Mt 26: 14 – 15

30 pieces thrown in Temple

Zech 11:13

Mt 27: 3 – 5

30 pieces buys potter’s field

Zech 11:13

Mt 27: 6 – 10

Forsaken by His disciples

Zech 13:7

Mk 14:27 & 50

Accused by false witnesses

Ps 35:11 & 20 – 21

Mt 26:59 – 61

Silent before accusers

Isa 53:7

Mt 27: 12 – 14

Wounded and bruised

Isa 53:4 – 6

1 Pet 2: 21 – 25

Beaten and spit upon

Isa 50:6

Mt 26: 67 – 68

Mocked

Ps 22: 6 – 8

Mt 27: 27 – 31

Fell under the cross

Ps 109: 24 – 25

Jn 19:17; Lk 23:26

Hands and feet pierced

Ps 22:16

Jn 20: 24 – 28

Crucified with thieves

Isa 53:12

Mt 27:38

Prayed for enemies

Isa 53:12

Lk 23:34

Rejected by His own people

Isa 53:3

Jn 19:14 – 15

Hated without cause

Ps 69:4

Jn 15:25

Friends stood aloof

Ps 38:11

Lk 22:54; 23:49

People wag their heads

Ps 22:7; 109:25

Mt 27:39

People stared at Him

Ps 22:17

Lk 23:35

Cloths divided and gambled for

Ps 22:18

Jn 19:23 – 24

Became very thirsty

Ps 22:15

Jn 19:28

 

6.Scientific Standards

Genesis 8:22 taught us that the cycles in life will be the same throughout, from beginning to end.  Though there may be change in our situations, the laws of God do not change. God is beyond time, He knows what is going to happen in the future. We are bounded by time, we can’t see the future. The Bible also explains the structure of the Earth; that is hangs on nothing and is spherical (Job 26:7, 10 & Isaiah 40:22). However, people have argued that the facts were keyed in after scientific discoveries. However, we are again using man’s fallible Word to judge God’s infallible word. What is known as fact today will be disregarded tomorrow.

 

7. Resurrection/post-resurrection evidence

It is so clearly seen in the life of the apostles that once Jesus Christ died these “cowards” suddenly became warriors of Christ.

Here’s an excerpt from J.N.D. Anderson:

“Think of the psychological absurdity of picturing a little band of defeated cowards cowering in an upper room one day and a few days later transformed into a company that no persecution would silence – and then attempting to attribute this dramatic change to nothing more convincing than a miserable fabrication that they were trying to foist upon the world. That simply wouldn’t make sense”.

and C.S.Lewis:

“The first fact in the history of Christendom is the number of people who say they have seen the Resurrection. If they had died without making anyone else believe this ‘gospel’ no gospels would ever have been written.”

These men were changed and changed the societies in which they lived in. These men were willing to die for what they believed in.

 

8. Compilation

The Bible consists of 66 authoritative books. There are 39 books in the Hebrew Tanakh and 27 in the New Testament Canon. Each one authoritative in its own right and when combined complements one another beautifully.

The Hebrew Tanakh was used and referenced by Jesus and the Apostles and so it is clear that these books were regarded as authoritative.

As for the Canon, they were written by 1st or 2nd generation Christians (e.g. John, Peter or Paul) or discipled by someone who knew Jesus (e.g. Mark or Luke). It was used by the whole church, whether in Alexandria or Antioch, and its authority accepted without question. The books were already authoritative even before they were compiled together. The Canon was put together not through church politics but as a result of rigorous scrutiny. The rules of the Canon stated that they were to be authoritative, prophetic, authentic, dynamic and received by the church.

 

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Image 4: The Bible comprising of the Hebrew Tanakh (New Testament) and the Canon (New Testament) (Source: Google)

 

Conclusion

After much scrutiny, we find that the Bible does not contradict itself, and is truly God-breathed (2 Tim 3:16).

Christianity is true when proper investigation is done. For instance, in Lee Strobel’s quest to know the truth, he did extensive investigations and he found the Bible to be self-consistent and authentic. We are able to note the voice of the Creator when we read the Bible and are truly and earnestly seeking for answers. It is the ultimate benchmark tool for us to live our everyday lives. Countless times, people have asked me whether I can prove whether Christianity & the Bible are true. My own personal conviction after many investigations is that it has stood the test of time and will continue to do so even during end times. 


My question to you is that with this information given to you and with the Bible, what are you going to do with it?

 

Ruby Faraday did her studies in Archaeology and Ancient Heritage. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Astronomy in a private university. If you have any questions, please feel free to write to her at ruby.faraday@gmail.com

Please refer to original website iperennial.wordpress.com for more articles.

 

Dear Viewers in Christ, if you find this article edifying to you, please share with your friends or loved ones by using the social media plugs (Share, Email to this article). The Lord will surely bless you as you bless others. May the Lord’s peace and love be with you.   

 

References:

1) Anderson, J., 1968, The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Christianity Today, pp. 5,6

2) AnsFoolWeb: Fool-Proof Apologetics,

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v4/n2/fool-proof, (Accessed 18 June 2013)

3) AnsWeb: How Do We Know that the Bible Is True?,

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2011/03/22/bible-is-true, (Accessed 13 June 2013)

4) BibleArchWeb: The Discovery of the Sin Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah,

http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2008/04/16/The-Discovery-of-the-Sin-Cities-of-Sodom-and-Gomorrah.aspx, (Accessed 13 June 2013)

5) BibleCWeb:

 http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_mVt_OmLtDcw/Swb5PXHUqnI/AAAAAAAAAXw/tIiyrMRJhds/s400/Books+of+the+Bible.gif, (Accessed 16 June 2013)

6) Creation2Web: Is the Bible our sole final authority?, Creation.com/sola-scriptura, (Accessed 14 June 2013)

7) Creation3Web: It’s nice for you but it’s not for me,

http://creation.com/thats-nice-for-you-but-its-not-for-me, (Accessed 16 June 16, 2013)

8) CreationVideoWeb: Why Christianity is True,

http://creation.com/media-center?fileID=n3cajTdwSAA, (Accessed 14 June 2013)

9) CreationWeb: Christian Apologetics Questions and Answers, Creation.com/apologetics, (Accessed 14 June 2013)

10) EviWeb: 8 Really Good Reasons Why Christianity Is True,

http://evidenceforchristianity.blogspot.com/2009/01/8-really-good-reasons-why-christianity.html, (Accessed 13 June 2013)

11) GotQWeb: With all of the different religions, how can I know which one is correct?, http://www.gotquestions.org/correct-religion.html#ixzz2W0EUVAvn, (Accessed 13 June 2013)

12) Image 1: Answers in Genesis, Fool-Proof Apologetics,

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v4/n2/fool-proof, (Accessed 18 June 2013)

13) Image 2: Bible Archaeology, The Discovery of the Sin Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah,

http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2008/04/16/The-Discovery-of-the-Sin-Cities-of-Sodom-and-Gomorrah.aspx, (Accessed 13 June 2013)

14) Image 3: Creation Ministries International: It’s nice for you but it’s not for me,

http://creation.com/thats-nice-for-you-but-its-not-for-me, (Accessed 16 June 16, 2013)

15) Image 4: Google: BibleCWeb:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_mVt_OmLtDcw/Swb5PXHUqnI/AAAAAAAAAXw/tIiyrMRJhds/s400/Books+of+the+Bible.gif, (Accessed 16 June 2013)

16) JerichoWeb: The Walls of Jericho. Archaeology Confirms: They Really Did Come A-tumblin’ Down,

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/cm/v21/n2/the-walls-of-jericho,(Accessed 14 June 2013)

17) Jesus Among other Gods – Ravi Zacharias

18) Lewis. C.S., 1947, Miracles: A Preliminary Study, pp. 149

19) YoutubeWeb: How can Christianity make claim and think that it is correct,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avnP3m78sCo, (Accessed 14 June 2013)

20) Zacharias, R., 2000, Jesus among Other Gods. The absolute Claims of the Christian Message, (Zondervan: USA)

21) http://tvaraj.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/the-holy-bible.jpg

 

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