I. The Supernatural Origin of the Bible
The Bible is a phenomenon which is explainable in but one way—it is the Word of God. It is not such a book as man would write if he could, or could write if he would. Other religious systems too have their eccentric deviations from the usual course of human procedure, which deviations are not many, and of slight importance; and these, indeed, are to be expected since man is ever determined to believe in a God, or gods, whether his belief is based on facts or not. Bishop Hampden, writing of the good that is recognizable in false religions, states: “Thus we find, even in those superstitions which are most revolting to common sense, some countervailing truths which have both softened and recommended the associated mass of error, otherwise too grossly repulsive for the heart of man ever to have admitted” (Essay on the Philosophical Evidence of Christianity, pp. 132, 133, cited by Rogers, Superhuman Origin of the Bible, p. 4). But such touches of human nature and its feeble aspirations are incomparable with the vast array of supernatural characteristics which the Bible exhibits.
The student of truth will ever be called upon to recognize counter claims which are both extra-Biblical and intra-Biblical. That which is extra-Biblical embraces the whole field of humanly devised religions and philosophical speculations. The intra-Biblical embraces all cults and partial statements of divine truth which, though professing to build their systems on the Scriptures, do, nevertheless, by false emphasis or neglect of truth, succeed in arriving at a confusion of doctrine which is akin to and perhaps more misleading than unmixed error.
The tout ensemble of the superhuman character of the Bible presents an almost inexhaustible array of considerations which, if observed with candor, compel one to conclude that this Book could not be a human product.
Though no exhaustive listing is possible, a few of the many superhuman traits of the Bible are here enumerated.
1. The Book of God. By this title it is intended to call attention to the claim everywhere present in the Bible, that it is God's message to man and not man's message to his fellow men, much less man's message to God. To declare the Bible to be theocentric, which it asserts for itself, is to declare it to be anthropoexcentric. In this Book, God is set forth as Creator and Lord of all. It is the revelation of Himself, the record or what He has done and will do, and, at the same time, the disclosure of the fact that every created thing is subject to Him and discovers its highest advantage and destiny only as it is conformed to His will. Every word of the Bible is the outworking of such sublime declarations as,“There is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath” (1 Kings 8:23), and, again, “Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all” (1 Chron. 29:11). “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth” (Ex. 34:6) “His tender mercies are over all his works” (Ps. 145:9). Thus God is exhibited as exercising an all-pervading and absolute authority over physical, moral , and spiritual realms and as directing things to the end that they may redound to His glory. This divine purpose is being wrought out by human agents and their activities constitute human history; but, when their work is completed, the history of the world will be the history of that original plan of God. Contrary to man's nature, the Bible tends altogether to the glory of God and aims at none other than His honor. According to the Word of God and to human experience, man, apart from divine illumination, is wholly unable to receive or understand the truth about God. Who among blinded humanity is the fiction writer capable of originating the conceptions of the triune God of all eternity that are spread on the pages of the Scriptures? Who among men has designed the peculiar and perfect balance of the parts each Person of the Godhead takes in redemption, or the divine character in its consistent and unalterable display of infinite holiness and infinite love—the divine judgments, the divine valuation of all things including the angelic hosts and evil spirits? Who among men has been not only able to conceive of such a fabrication of interdependent notions, but has been able to make them express themselves perfectly in an ongoing history which, being fortuitous, is, after all, only sham—a hypocritical, disingenuous counterfeit of truth? How absurd is the assumption that unaided man could write the Bible if he chose to do so! But if man did not originate the Bible, God did, and because of that fact its authority must be recognized.
2. The Bible and Monotheism. Closely akin, indeed, is this subject to that which has gone before. The fact that God is supreme implies that there is none other to compare with Him; yet almost universally humanity has practiced, with a contumacy which is far from accidental, the abominations of idolatry. The Jewish people, from whom on the human side the Scriptures came, sustain no immunity to this tendency. From the days of the golden calf on through succeeding centuries the Israelites were ever reverting to idolatry and this in spite of abundant revelation and chastisement. The history of the church is stained by the worship of graven images assimilated from heathenism. How earnestly the New Testament warns believers to shun idolatry and the worship of angels! In the light of these facts, how could it be supposed that men—even Israel—apart from divine direction could originate a treatise which, with an eye single to God's glory, brands idolatry as one of the first and most offensive crimes and insults against God? The Bible is not such a book as man would have written if he could.
3. The Doctrine of the Trinity. While sustaining monotheism without modification, the Bible does present the fact that God subsists in three Persons or modes of being. This distinction lies between two extremes: on the one hand, that three separate and distinct Persons are merely associated as to purpose and achievement; or, on the other hand, that one Person merely operates in three different characterizing fields of activity, the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity being that God is one in essence, yet three identified Persons. Doubtless this is one of the greatest of mysteries. The doctrine reaches beyond the range of human understanding, though it is a fundamental in the divine revelation.
When considered separately, the individual Persons of the Godhead present the same indisputable evidence as to the supernatural origin of the Bible.
a. God the Father: Vast indeed is the field of Scripture which sets forth the distinctive activities and responsibilities which are predicated of the First Person. He is said to be the Father of all creation, the Father of the eternal Son—the Second Person—, and the Father of all who believe unto the salvation of their souls. This revelation extends to all the details of the Fatherhood relationship and includes the giving of the Son that the grace of God may be revealed. No human mind could originate the conception of God the Father as He is revealed in the Bible.
b. God the Son: The record concerning the Second Person, who, according to the Word of God, is the Son from all eternity, who is ever the manifestation of the Father, and who, though now subject to the Father, is the Creator of material things, the Redeemer and final Judge of all mankind, offers the most extensive and immeasurable evidence of the divine origin of the Scriptures. The Person and work of the Son of God with His humiliation and glory is the dominant theme of the Bible; yet the Son, in turn, dedicates Himself to the glory of the Father. The perfections of the Son can never be compared to, or even comprehended by, the wisest of men. If, after all, this limitless disclosure concerning the Son is only fiction, is it not a reasonable challenge—even to the unregenerate mind—that this supposed author should be discovered, and, on the basis of the truism that the thing created cannot be greater than the one who created it, be worshiped and reverenced above all that is called God?
c. God the Spirit: The Holy Spirit who is presented in revelation as equal in every particular to the Father and the Son, is, nevertheless, and for the furtherance of the present divine undertakings, portrayed as being subject to both the Father and the Son. In like manner, His service is seen to be the complement and administration of the work of the Father and the Son.
Thus the triune God has disclosed Himself to man in terms which man, even when aided by the Spirit, can but feebly comprehend; and how puerile is the intimation that these revelations are the product of men who without exception since the days of Adam are depraved, degenerate, and unable even to receive or know the things of God apart from divine illumination! Such a conception proposes nothing short of the assumption that man originates the idea of God, and that the Creator is a product of the creature.
4. Creation. With no ability to receive the things of God or to know them, man is unable to give intelligent consent to the dictum that all existing things were created from nothing by the immediate fiat of God (Heb. 11:3). Recognizing, however, that all existing things must have a beginning, he proceeds to construct his own solution of the problem of origin. The best he has done is represented by the theories of evolution, which theories, because of their inconsistencies and unproved hypotheses, are somewhat worse than no solution at all. Is man who so fails to discover any reasonable solution of this problem at the same time to be credited with the authorship of the Genesis account of creation, which account is the one basis whereon all subsequent revelation proceeds?
5. Sin. Among many subjects upon which man could have no unprejudiced information, the fact of sin and its evil character is obviously one of the foremost. Yet if it be contended that the Bible—the only source of reliable information on this theme—is not of divine origin, there is no alternative other than the supposition that man, as supposed author of the Scriptures, has sat in judgment on himself and is able to comprehend what everywhere he demonstrates himself to be unable to comprehend, namely, the sinfulness of sin. And the problem does not involve one human author, but at least forty human authors who had their share in the actual writing of the Word of God. All of the forty men see eye to eye on this vast theme concerning which man could know nothing apart from revelation.
6. The Cure of Evil According to the Bible. If fallen man does not naturally know his sinfulness, much less does he have native capacity whereby he can know the divine remedy which is not only revealed to man in the Word of God but has demonstrated its efficacy in every instance in which man has met its terms and claimed its values. This redemption not only provides a perfect salvation for the individual believer, but extends to the new heaven and new earth with sin dismissed forever. It is conceivable that man might dream of a utopia, but what human being could devise the plan of salvation and cause it to be successful in every instance without exception? How could man devise a plan which discredits human merit, which secures the saving power of God, and which tendeth ever to the glory of God and the disillusionment of human vanity? Why should man in his fictitious utopia be concerned that it shall be wrought out only in that manner which preserves the infinite holiness of the One who redeems? It is only after man is redeemed that he can even feebly apprehend the mighty workings of divine grace in the salvation of the lost. Yet if one hesitates to receive the Bible as God's Word, he is left with no other choice than to believe that man is the author of redemption and that it has no more saving value than a fallen man can impart to it.
7. The Extent of Bible Revelation. Like a telescope, the Bible reaches beyond the stars and penetrates the heights of heaven and the depths of hell. Like a microscope, it discovers the minutest details of God's plan and purpose as well as the hidden secrets of the human heart. Like a stereoscope, it has the capacity to place things in their right relation the one to the other, manifesting the true perspective of the divine intent in the universe. So far as human knowledge goes, the Bible deals as freely with things unknown as it does with the known. It speaks with utmost freedom and assurance of things altogether outside the range of human life and experience—of things eternal as well as of time. There is a border beyond which the human mind, basing its conclusions on experience, cannot go; yet the human authors of the Bible do not hesitate when they reach that boundary, but move majestically on into unknown realms with intrepidity. By what other means than through the Bible may one gaze into eternity either backward or forward? Yet the theory that the Bible does not originate in God alone, imposes the necessity of believing that restricted and temporal creatures of the earth have themselves arisen to the sublime conceptions of eternity and of heaven as well as to the eternal Being of God, and are able to sit in judgment over the eternal destiny of all things. Man could not write such a Book if he would.
8. The Ethics of the Bible. The religions of the heathen concern themselves but little with morals. Their priests speak next to nothing of a life that is pure and true. On the contrary, these religions are often promoters of the lowest vice. It is certain they know nothing of ethics which are the result of, and subordinate to, doctrine. The Bible has introduced something which is foreign to all the moral schemes and systems the world has ever produced. Whether it be the Mosaic Law, the Christian exhortation, or the kingdom standards of rectitude, each becomes an obligation resting upon those to whom it is addressed because of the estate in which each group of people is placed in the sovereign goodness of God. In the Bible, ethics are based on doctrine and become its legitimate fruitage. In no instance is this principle so operative as in the case of the Christian, who, because of his position in Christ, is called upon to walk worthy of that high calling. The ethics of the Bible are as supernatural in their origin and holy character as is the estate into which the elect of God are brought.
The Bible presents an unqualified exposure of man's ethical failure as well as the judgments which rest upon him. Man's depraved nature and his inevitable deflection from that which is right strongly preclude the theory that he is the originator of so high a morality as that found in the Word of God; and since on the human side the Bible is the product of Jewish authors, it is pertinent to observe that the men of that nation, even in the face of all their privileges, were little better in their moral rectitude than the men of other nations. Added to this is the fact that the Bible standard of holy living is the testimony of many human authors from every walk of life and over many centuries. How, it may be inquired, could human nature have given spontaneously such a depressing and hopeless description of itself as is contained in the dogmatic statements of the Bible on this subject? There every soul of man is charged with complete failure. The Word of God declares: “The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Ps. 14:2, 3). They are “by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Eph. 2:3). How could incarnate bigotry and depravity become the author and champion of those principles of holiness resident only in heaven?
Still another feature of this general subject, which, however, is only remotely related to the problem of morals, inquires how Jews who were steeped in Judaism could have originated such a Book as the New Testament. There is hardly a feature of Christianity which the Jew does not naturally resist. What could be more repulsive to a Jew than the sentiment, “There is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him” (Rom. 10:12)? Was not Judaism from God and was it not practiced for fifteen hundred years under the divine favor? Because of these indisputable facts, the Jew clutched the elements of Judaism to his heart, and still clutches them. The gospel abruptly broke in upon this religious monopoly and its consequent isolation. Not only had Jewish writers of the Old Testament recorded all the infamies of their own nation and recognized the divine chastisements so justly sent upon them, but now as worthy writers as any of the Old Testament authors are seen to turn from Judaism altogether and to espouse a system which contradicts or supersedes Judaism at almost every vital point. These are problems that should not be passed over lightly by those who question the divine origin of the Scriptures and are compelled, therefore, to account for these oracles as a human product.
9. The Continuity of the Bible. The continuity of the message of the Bible is absolute in its completeness. It is bound together by historical sequence, type and antitype, prophecy and its fulfillment, and by the anticipation, presentation, realization, and exaltation of the most perfect Person who ever walked the earth and whose glories are the effulgence of heaven. Yet the perfection of this continuity is sustained against what to man would be insuperable impediments; for the Bible is a collection of sixty-six books which have been written by over forty different authors—kings, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, physicians, statesmen, scholars, poets, and plowmen—who lived their lives in various countries and experienced no conference or agreement one with another, and over a period of not less than sixteen hundred years of human history. Because of these obstacles to continuity, the Bible would be naturally the most heterogeneous, incommensurable, inconsonant, and contradictory collection of human opinions the world has ever seen; but, on the contrary, it is just what it is designed to be, namely, a homogeneous, uninterrupted, harmonious, and orderly account of the whole history of God's dealings with man.
Nor should it be unobserved that other sacred books are the product of one man and therefore involve no problem of continuity such as developed when the writings of forty disassociated men are blended into one perfect whole. Each of the three great monotheistic religions has its written oracles. However, Judaism and Christianity share in this that their writings are a compilation of the writings of various human authors. The book which contains the tenets of Islam is the work of the founder of Islam. It proclaims itself to be the words of God; not, however, written by the hand of the prophet but taken by dictation from his mouth as a so-called revelation. It begins and ends in the person of its first teacher. From these records none of his followers dares take away or add to. Man at best is an ephemeron. His life is circumscribed to his own day and generation and his views are usually correspondingly provincial. By just such men, equally limited in themselves, God has caused a library to be formed into one volume with its incomparable continuity. This Book containing many books has not gained the idiosyncratic impress of many minds. Its harmony is not that of trumpets in unison, but rather orchestration where, though absolutely in tune, the instruments are perfectly distinguished. On what ground could this plenary continuity be explained if it be asserted that the Bible is any less than the Word of God?
10. Prophecy and Its Fulfillment. It has always pleased God to preannounce the thing He is going to do and history records the realization of the prediction. A very great number of prophecies were made by Old Testament writers concerning the coming Messiah and these were declared hundreds, and in some instances thousands, of years before Christ came. Those predictions which in the divine purpose were to be fulfilled at Christ's first advent were literally fulfilled at that time. Many more yet remain to be fulfilled when He comes again, and, it is reasonable to believe, these will be fulfilled with the same precision. Were but two vaticinations made and fulfilled, such as the virgin birth of Christ, to occur in Bethlehem of Judea, the supernatural character of the Scriptures would be proved by the history which records their accomplishment; but when these predictions run into thousands which concern the Persons of the Godhead, angels, nations, families, individuals, and destinies, and each and every one is exactly executed in its prescribed time and place, the evidence is incontestable as to the divine character of the Scriptures. A fiction writer might present an imaginary situation concerning a supposed time and place and in that time and place cause his fictitious character to make a sham prediction. This, in turn, to be followed by a chapter purporting to be at a later time and recording a pretended fulfillment of the sham prediction. Such, indeed, would exhaust the predictive powers of man. The prophecies of the Bible are fulfilled in every instance by actual history. The Bible itself indicates that the acid test of all prophecy is its literal fulfillment. Nor is the intervening time of small importance. Based on obvious conditions, a man might make a fortunate guess as to the turn of events on the day that follows; but the Bible prophecy disregards the element of time. The fact that the twenty-second Psalm is a preview of Christ's death cannot be refuted, and no one can controvert the record of the Bible that a full millennium falls between the prophecy and its fulfillment. Who would be prepared to believe that hundreds of predictions which are fulfilled on the pages of history and extending over thousands of years of intervening time are the work of unaided men? Yet there is no other alternative for the one who questions the divine origin of the Scriptures.
11. Types with Their Antitypes. A type is a divinely framed delineation which portrays its antitype. It is God's own illustration of His truth drawn by His own hand. The type and the antitype are related to each other by the fact that the connecting truth or principle is embodied in each. It is not the prerogative of the type to establish the truth of a doctrine; it rather enhances the force of the truth as set forth in the antitype. On the other hand, the antitype serves to lift the type out of the commonplace into that which is transcendental, and to invest it with riches and treasures hitherto unrevealed. The Passover-Lamb type floods the redeeming grace of Christ with richness of meaning, while the redemption itself invests the Passover-Lamb type with all its marvelous significance. The continuity of the Scriptures, prophecy and its fulfillment, and types with their antitypes, are the three major factors which not only serve to exhibit the unity of the two Testaments and, like woven threads running from one Testament to the other, bind them into one fabric, but serve to trace the design which by its marvelous character glorifies the Designer. A true type is the counterpart of its antitype, and, being specifically devised by God, is a vital part of revelation and inspiration. Even if the human mind could conceive the marvels of the antitype (which it could never do), it could not draw the pattern found in the type nor invent the manifold details—often incorporating many particulars and expansive circumstances which are a part of ancient history. Thus typology as incorporated in the Bible demonstrates the Bible to be such a book as man could not write if he would. It is divine in its origin as it is superhuman in its character.
12. The Bible as Literature. As a means for the transmitting of thought, the reducing of a language to writing is an achievement of surpassing importance. It is reasonable and to be expected that God, in communicating with man, would put His message into written form. How else could it be either pondered or preserved? It is equally to be expected that the literature thus created, regardless of secondary causes and agencies, would be worthy of the divine Author. This aspect of the Bible's priority even the unregenerate may profitably consider. As might be anticipated, the observations of all the scholarship of the world in general, whether sympathetic or unsympathetic, have agreed upon the one conclusion that, as literature, the Bible is paramount. It is evident, however—and this is not sufficiently considered—, that this supremacy of the literature of the Bible cannot be attributed to its human authors. With few exceptions, they were common men of their times who had received no preparatory discipline for the task they assumed. In this connection it is observable that the intruding first personal pronoun (with notable exceptions which are required for the clarity of the truth—cf. Rom. 7:15–25) is absent from these writings. The personal opinions of the human authors on the material they present are of little importance. Had the exceptional literary value of their writings been due to their own ability, it is inconceivable that all of these forty or more authors would have failed to leave some other enduring messages than those embodied in the Bible. In fact, the Jewish nation, from which source these human authors of the Scriptures are almost wholly drawn, has no ancient literature of importance outside this Sacred Book. The intellectual and moral qualifications of the Jew of early days for this authorship may be measured by the Talmud and the Talmudic writings. To the same end, the later writings of the Jew may be also estimated by a comparison of the canonical Gospels with the apocryphal gospels; the latter tending to hinder rather than help in the knowledge of Christ. A similar contrast may be extended to the writings of the Early Church fathers or to those of such men of holy design and purpose as the Reformers or the Puritans in contrast with the Epistles of the New Testament. No message other than the Bible has ever been written by any man in all past ages that has secured any reasonable recognition as being more than is normally human, or that could sustain any claim to a place in the Divine Library. Each age has witnessed the dismissal of the vast portion of its literature into oblivion, but the Bible abides. It is literally true that books may come and books may go, but the Bible goes on forever. Outside the range of Jewish and Christian literature, the Koran would probably receive first consideration; yet “we feel the justice,” says Castenove, “of Möhler's dictum, ‘That without Moses, and the prophets, and Christ, Mahomet is simply inconceivable—for the essential purport of the Koran is derived from the Old and New Testaments’ ” (“Mahomedanism,” Encyclopaedia Britannica, cited by Henry Rogers, Superhuman Origin of the Bible, 5th ed., p. 266).
The devout individual is, to some degree, unable to judge the Bible in the limited field of its literary claims. To him, the words are invested with entrancing, spiritual realities of meaning which at once lift the effect of the message upon the heart far above the range of mere reaction to unusual literary style. What individual gifted with spiritual understanding has not felt, with a good degree of justification, that common words, when used in the Bible, often become incomparably vital? Among people of culture, how general a limited appreciation of the Sacred Text is! What public writer or speaker from the demagogue to the divine has not learned to depend on the mysterious, unfailing impressions of even a brief quotation from God's Word?
No unaided human writer has ever been able to imitate the simplicity of the Bible language. The greatest truths God has spoken to man are couched in the language of children. To illustrate: Seven monosyllables, not one of which exceeds three letters, serve to state the two most vital relationships which the saved sustain to the resurrected Christ. These are: “ye in me, and I in you” (John 14:20). Similarly, no human skill in condensation could ever compare with declarations found in the Scriptures. No “short story” writer ever produced a thrilling narrative comparable to that found in Luke 15:11–32. The four Gospels, like all other books of the New Testament, are inexhaustible in the ever unfolding truth they convey; yet the text itself is restricted to the point of inimitable brevity. On the other hand, the Bible message is never hurried, cramped, or unreadable. In fact, the narrative at times seems unnecessarily explicit (cf. Matt. 25:34–45).
Unlike the usual writings of men, the Bible employs a purely dramatic form. It affirms certain facts or incidents without prejudicial comment. Human authors seem hopelessly unable to let simple facts speak for themselves, nor are they willing to credit the reader with the requisite sagacity to draw his own conclusions. What novelist has been able to refrain from those extended introductions of their characters which assay to analyze every motive and, to that extent, predetermine the reader's deductions? When has biography been so written that the reader retained any latitude whatever in the evaluation of character based on the subject in action? The biographer's opinion and not the subject's life is too often exhibited. In the Bible, however, the human author's analyzing and moralizing efforts are excluded and the complicated field of the application of truth by the Spirit of God is not disarranged. Not a few Bible readers resent every man-made heading in the Sacred Text, only because of that reasonable desire to be allowed to draw their own conclusions directly from the Scripture through the enlightening power of its Author—the Spirit of God.
Without offering the usual barriers found in the literary productions of men, the Bible fascinates the child and entrances the sage. It, as no other book has ever done or could do, has made its appeal to all races and peoples regardless of national bias; which appeal is demonstrated by the fact that the Bible, or portions of it, and to meet the urgent need, has been translated into about one thousand languages and dialects and the output and distribution of these has reached to about forty million copies in a year. This is a striking reversal of Voltaire's prediction, made one hundred and fifty years ago, that within one hundred years from the time he spoke the Bible would be obsolete. The impulse to translate the Bible into other languages is itself inexplicable. This impulse has served to extend the knowledge of God's Word and has gone far in stirring the feeble incentive on the part of men to translate other ancient writings. And what, indeed, can be said of the prodigious volume and exalted character of literature, music, and art which the Bible has provoked? The Bible itself represents in magnitude not a three hundredth part of the extant Greek and Roman literature; yet it has attracted to, and concentrated upon, itself more thought and produced more works, explanatory, illustrative, apologetic—upon its text, its exegesis, its doctrines, its history, its geography, its ethnology, its chronology, and its evidences—than all the Greek and Roman literature combined. Likewise, what can be said of the quotations from the Bible by almost every class of authors in the world? What other book has served to develop, fix, and preserve the languages into which it is translated, or to retard changes and corruption of speech, as has the Bible?
From no angle of approach to its literary properties is the Bible seen to be such a book as man could have written if he would. It is, therefore, the Word of God.
13. The Bible and Science. No small problem is confronted when an attempt is made to state scientific truth according to the understanding of one age in a way that will at the same time be acceptable in all succeeding ages. Science is ever shifting and subject to its own revisions, if not complete revolutions. It reflects with a good degree of accuracy the progress from generation to generation of human knowledge. In the field of science, no human author has been able to avoid the fate of obsolescence in later periods; yet the Divine Records have been so framed that there is no conflict with true science in this or any age of human history. It is impossible for human authors to write as the Bible is written in matters of science. It is no argument against the Bible that it employs commonly used terms such as “the ends of the earth,” “the four corners of the earth,” or “the sun going down.” It would be no more understandable to say “the earth is rising” than to say “the sun is setting.” The latter is the thing which, to human vision, occurs. In fact, what term could be used other than that which describes what man sees with his eyes? The Bible is justified in the use of generally used terms, especially since no other terms have ever been proposed, nor could better ones be discovered. God alone could execute the superhuman task of writing a book which, though dispensing facts concerning nature, even from its creation to its final glories, nevertheless avoids a conflict with ignorance and bigotry as these have existed in endless variety from the dawn of human history.
14. The Bible and Temporal Power. The Jewish system of government was a theocracy. God was monarch over all. It was not an alliance of spiritual forces and interests with the state; it was a complete incorporation of the two into one divine purpose. Though in the New Testament believers are enjoined to be subject to, and pray for, those who in civic authority are over them, the government is, as divinely ordained in the present period, known as “the times of the Gentiles,” in the hands of men; and there is no inherent unity possible between the church which is of God and the state which is in the hands of men. The instructions are clear that Christians are not to aspire to temporal power or to depend on civil authority for the furtherance of spiritual ends. The early church was true to the New Testament and her phenomenal progress was made by persuasion and love. It is natural and normal for men to resort to such coercive power as is available to achieve their ends. And history records no movement other than Christianity which has secured its designs by the appeal to heart and mind. Indeed, it is one of the deflections of the Church of Rome that she departed from this spiritual ideal. The intention to surmount human opposition and defeat the forces of evil by reliance upon divine power could never have originated in the human heart. Thus it is to be seen that the Bible is supernatural in its character and could not be the product of men.
15. The Bible's Enduring Freshness. As no other literature in the world, the Bible invites and sustains a ceaseless rereading. Its pages are ever flashing new gems of truth to those most familiar with it, and its uplifting moral appeal, like its pathos, never fails to move the sensitive soul. Of no other book than the Bible could it be said truthfully that its message is perennially fresh and effective, and this, in turn, demonstrates the divine character and origin of the Bible.
Great men of all generations, both devout and otherwise, have striven to give expression to their convictions concerning the uniqueness of the Bible. When the Bible is thus contemplated, surpassing eloquence has been stimulated by the eminence of the theme. Among these statements, the following is from Theodore Parker:
This collection of books has taken such hold of the world as no other. The literature of Greece, which goes up like incense from that land of temples and heroic deeds, has not half the influence of this book from a nation despised alike in ancient and in modern times. … It goes equally to the cottage of the plain man and the palace of the king. It is woven into the literature of the scholar, and colours the talk of the streets. It enters men's closets, mingles in all the grief and cheerfulness of life. The Bible attends men in sickness, when the fever of the world is on them. … It is the better part of our sermons; it lifts man above himself. Our best of uttered prayers are in its storied speech, wherewith our fathers and the patriarchs prayed. The timid man, about to wake from his dream of life, looks through the glass of Scripture, and his eye grows bright; he does not fear to stand alone, to tread the way unknown and distant, to take the death angel by the hand, and bid farewell to wife and babes and home. … Some thousand famous writers come up in this century to be forgotten in the next. But the silver cord of the Bible is not loosed, nor its golden bowl broken, as Time chronicles his tens of centuries passed by.—Cited by Henry Rogers, Superhuman Origin of the Bible, p. 338
The divine origin of the Bible in all its parts is attested by unnumbered facts and features, but enough has been here presented to refute every claim that the phenomenon which the Bible presents can with any show of reason be attributed to man. The conclusion is that, being everywhere discovered to be a truthful message, it is what it claims to be, the Word of God.