A LOGIC SEQUENCE ON METAPHYSICS
Today, the need for apologetics is as great as it ever was, as debates rage and misinformation abounds over the nature and mission of Yahshua1 the true Savior Yahweh2 sent into the world to announce the good news of the future re-establishment of His government on this earth, to detail the path to righteousness, and to rescue us from the penalty of our personal lawlessness.
Apologetics is a term used frequently in theological discussions to describe rational and philosophical attempts to prove the "orthodox" Christian view of the nature and mission of the one they believe they know as "Jesus Christ," or to prove other fundamental Christian doctrines. The apologetic writings of the early Christian church "fathers" were reasoned, philosophical arguments which attempted to prove the alleged superiority of the Christian orthodox faith of that time over the surrounding, hostile Judaism, Gnosticism, or heretical Christian movements.
In modern times, the apologetic format of argument has often been used to re-establish the validity of the orthodox Christian faith against the forces of secularism and atheism.
However, before discussing who Yahshua was, what his mission was, or whether he even ever existed, we the believers must first establish the authority we have in common with our unbelieving or skeptical audience. What reference or references do we both use? What sources of information do we both accept as authoritative, sure, and certain? What common ground do we have?
Many fundamental believers immediately jump to the pious assertion that the Jewish or Christian scriptures, in their various translations, constitute the requisite authoritative basis of all religious-dogmatic discussions—"Back to the Bible" is their rallying cry. Others believe that some additional ground rules need to be established before any such "leap of faith" may be taken.
Are You Sure?
Descartes, a philosopher of the 17th century wrote the famous phrase, "I think, therefore I am," as his starting point for reason and his discussion of the basis of the philosophical pyramid he was to construct. He realized that anything and everything he had ever accepted as a sure starting point for reason could itself be faulty, and not every one of his readers would be willing to accept the same authorities he did. Today in theological discussion, debate, and apologetics, a similar logical construction needs to be made (or at least outlined) before it is reasonable to move on to detailed discussions of doctrine and the mission of the Messiah.
We cannot assume that all people we wish to reach accept the Jewish and Christian scriptures as fully inspired. In fact, it seems quite likely that most people in the culture of our "post-Christian" western world, even Christians and some Messians,3 have never stopped to analyze why they believe what they do, or to determine the foundations of the doctrines to which they adhere. This is not good, because a belief system not based on a reasoned, logical construction from the most basic facts is a belief based only on a personal trust in some other authority, usually another fallible human being. We may think we are putting our trust in a supreme creator spirit being, or in the Judeo-Christian scriptures, but without having proven the existence of the Creator, or the validity of the Scriptures, that trust can only be a naive trust in the one who first told us about them (e.g., a parent, a teacher, or a trusted religious cleric). In the New Testament letter to the Hebrews, the writer declares, "Faith [Strong's #4102—persuasion, conviction] is the substance [Strong's #5287: support, assurance] of things hoped for, the evidence [Strong's #1650: proof] of things not being seen." Yet that confident belief, though a gift from the Creator Yahweh (Mark 9:23-24; Philippians 2:13), must not be something we have simply been convinced of by another human being. Yahweh must work with our own minds to develop the conviction—the certainty—that what we believe is true, and is true in a reasoned, intelligent way.
Why be Sure?
We now live in a rare time in human history where people in most westernized nations are fairly free to think about, study, and discuss points of religious doctrine and philosophy without serious persecution. However, we should not assume that such a liberal theological atmosphere will continue. The shortness of our human lives exaggerates our view of time, and makes even current events of the past few centuries seem like ancient history. A more studied view of history, however, shocks us into the realization that only one generation ago4 in the United States, simply questioning the validity of the Bible would have ostracized the questioner from their local community. Our great-great-great grandfathers may have witnessed or taken part in the hanging of accused witches in Salem, Massachusetts.5 Only a dozen generations ago zealous clerics of the medieval Roman Catholic Church launched the crusade against the Albigensian "heretics" of southern France, killing tens of thousands of men, women, and children in mass executions and butchery.6 Only 30 generations ago subjects to the Roman Empire who would not offer homage and worship to the emperor were thrown en masse to the beasts in the coliseum.7 Even today, religious persecution in the form of radical Islam burns and bombs Christian churches, and threatens death to any former adherent who is bold enough to apostatize from the Muslim faith.
Judging from such history, it seems quite likely that at some point in our lifetimes we may be required to face legal penalties for the religious doctrines we say we believe in. How sure are we of what we profess we believe? Will we be willing to die for beliefs we are not entirely sure of?
We cannot say we truly believe some point of doctrine because it is in the Judeo-Christian scriptures if we have not previously proven to ourselves that Judeo-Christian scriptures are without question the word of the one true creator being. We cannot believe that any writings are inspired if we have not proven the existence of a supreme spirit being to inspire them. We cannot believe in the existence of a supreme spirit being if we have not studied and debated in our own mind the logical proofs as to why such a being can or must exist. Without such a firm foundation on the bedrock of reason, our faith is as shaky as a "...house built upon the sand, And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it" (Matthew 7:26-27). Such an unsupported faith is not one which will survive when temptations, persecutions, or difficult times come.
Without an absolute conviction that what we hold as true is based on sound, logical reasoning, our belief system will be like the faith of the one who "...received the seed into stony places, the same is he that hears the word, and immediately with joy receives it; yet has he not root in himself, but endures for a while: for when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he is offended.["offended" is from the Greek skandalizo—Strong's 4624, to trip-up]" (Matthew 13:20-21). Although our minds (and therefore the reasoning powers of our minds) are also weak and imperfect, we must start out by basing our doctrinal beliefs on a sound foundation of reason that we can explain and defend to hostile and clever antagonists. Once we have convinced ourselves (and others) of some higher authority, then we can begin laying foundations of belief and doctrine on the more sure bedrock of absolute truth, and the one who claims ownership of absolute truth.
What is Meant by "A Logic Sequence on Metaphysics"?
Classically, the study of questions of a philosophical, religious, or spiritual nature from a rationalistic viewpoint has been known as Metaphysics—the study of things beyond or above physics (physics being the study of the laws of this physical space-time universe). A reasoned, step-by-step construction leading to metaphysical conclusions might then properly be known as "a logic sequence on metaphysics."
Such a logic sequence on metaphysics consists of itemized, logical steps of belief leading to the spiritual (metaphysical) points of doctrine we wish to consider the truth of. Such a clearly understood logic sequence on metaphysics is a prerequisite mental construction if we are to have the ability to defend our dogmatic conclusions to others who may not be willing to accept our "preferred" authorities.
A Supreme Creator Must Exist
Any such logic sequence would have to start, as it did with Descartes, with the observation that we ourselves are thinking, (sometimes) rational beings—that we exist, and can perceive a "real" universe around us. It asks where did we and all these material things we perceive come from? Could material things just exist, without beginning or ending? Are they without purpose? Science itself asks, and seeks to answer the question of physical origins, yet without success. Beyond that however, science has no interest in the questions of why or of what purpose—they are not by nature questions that can be answered by ever more detailed investigations into the nature of the material universe itself.
So, the first step in the logic sequence must not only be the question of origins, but the question of whether by its very nature science can ever determine the cause of all that exists? The success of science in determining the cause of all that exists is contingent on whether the material universe (space, time, energy, and matter) could have come about by "natural" forces—the forces that are the only possible subject of scientific inquiry. The question answers itself. Something physical cannot originate all that physically exists, else it would have to originate itself, which is a logical inconsistency—the question would remain unanswered.
No, the physical universe must, by reason, have been originated (or been created) by something that is beyond nature—something not of this physical creation. It is reasonable therefore to assume the existence of a non-physical creator of all that we see existing in this physical universe. This fact is the very basis, the first layer of our logical foundation of reason, the first point of fact in our logic sequence on metaphysics.
Classical philosophy details a number of other arguments beyond the question of origins that seem to prove the necessity of a non-physical creator being or force. The argument summarized above is generally classified under the title the Cosmological Argument, or argument from the existence of the universe. Other arguments such as the Teleological Argument (argument from design) and the Ontological Argument (argument from necessity) have also been debated, discussed, criticized, or supported by philosophers down through the ages—both secular and theological.
Each has it's supporters and detractors. For example, the noted 20th century philosopher Mortimer J. Adler makes a purely philosophical argument that many believe dismisses the Cosmological Argument. He argues that a proof made from existence (by it's very nature) assumes the outcome in favor of a creator being, and thus cannot be used to rigorously prove the existence of such. In it's place Dr. Adler constructs a finely reasoned argument that seems to prove the necessary existence of a supreme, non-physical being based on the continued existence and functioning of the universe (though not it's origin).8 In order to insure that a conviction in the existence of a non-material creator has merit outside of our own prejudices or wishes, it is important to review and consider the reasonableness of these arguments. They will build stronger trust, demolish weak reasoning, and help provide the fundamental basis on which to build our metaphysical logic sequence.
Study carefully the arguments of both believers and skeptics—the writings of such modern Christian apologists as Josh McDowell (the Evidence that Demands a Verdict series), Paul Little (Know What and Why you Believe), A.J. Hoover (The Case for Christian Theism), Edward C. Wharton (Christianity a Clear Case of History!), Mortimer J. Adler (How to Think About God), C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity), G.K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy), as well as many of the classical Christian apologists such as Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologica), Justin Martyr (Dialogue with Trypho, a Jew), and Origin (Against Celsus). All provide very interesting and convincing discussions on the question of the reasonableness of the religious viewpoint.
In addition, the writings of detractors and skeptics such as Bertrand Russell (A Free Man's Worship, Why I am Not a Christian), Voltaire (Philosophical Dictionary), Sigmund Freud (The Future of an Illusion), and Robert Ingersoll (Why I Am An Agnostic) provide very useful checks as to the reasonableness of the often not-well-formed arguments of some religious protagonists.
The Necessary Nature of the Supreme Creator
The next foundation in our reasoning process asks whether we can know anything about this metaphysically-proven creator—is it "knowable" to the human mind? Is it still "out there"? Is it all-powerful? Is it a personal being, or just a tendency or force for order in the universe? Does it care about us, or even know we exist?
A wise philosopher (and much more!) of the first century once wrote, "...the unseen things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things made, both his eternal power and [supreme spiritual nature] ..." (Paul of Tarsus, Romans 1:20). Is this true? If it does seem reasonable that an author can be best understood by the study of his writings, and a painter by his paintings, does it not also seem reasonable that whatever or whoever created the universe can be known by its creation? So, what then can be known about the unknown creator by the observation of the things which we observe as having been made by it?
The first thing we may agree with Paul about is that whatever created space-time, as we reasoned earlier, must exist outside of space-time, and therefore must be eternal.
The best understanding of modern physics is that time itself is a part of the physical creation—that all things exist in a multi-dimensional matrix that includes both space and time. The first cause of all that exists must therefore exist outside of time, since time would have to be a part of its creation. If it were not, if it were limited by time, it would have to be part of its own creation, which is a contradiction. Any supreme creator of all that is, therefore, must be eternal.
The second character trait of the creator we must agree with Paul on is the fact that whoever or whatever created matter, energy, space, and time must itself be limitless in energy or power.
Albert Einstein postulated, and modern physics later seems to have proven that matter itself is just a concentration of energy, with the conversion between the two being governed by Einstein's famous formula, E=MC2 (energy=mass times the speed of light squared). This formula seems to say that matter is just a great deal of energy, for the constant C2 is an incredibly huge number on the order of a 9 with 16 zeros following it! Atomic and nuclear science uses this conversion factor to harness the awesome power of nuclear energy and unleash the frightening force of nuclear weaponry.
Considering the amount of matter estimated by Astrophysicists to be in the known universe, the being that created all matter must be essentially limitless in energy.9 We may therefore conclude that the second characteristic of the creator (as deduced from its creation) is the creator's unlimited power (omnipotence).
But what of Paul's third contention, that the very nature of the creator may be understood from his creation? Was Paul right about this too? We have already reasoned the necessity of the existence of a non-physical, eternal creator being, one which is limitless in power. What else can we logically deduce about His nature from the observable—from creation?
Well, once again looking within ourselves, we may start by recognizing that we ourselves are made of matter and therefore we must also be a part of this being's creation. Within ourselves we perceive self-awareness—self-consciousness—as one of the most fundamental human mental characteristics. We recognize that we exist, and that we are able to interact independently with the world around us. Does this not also require that this creator is itself "thinking"—a conscious entity of some sort? If not, where would consciousness and self-awareness have come from? Surely an intellectual characteristic as unique in all the known creation as cognition (self-awareness) could not have developed on its own in a creature we have already reasonably determined as being created. Is cognition not the most fundamental part of our nature, and therefore by definition a product of that creator's handiwork? Yes, for cognition is a part of us, and therefore it is something which must have a source, or origin.
If consciousness has a source, should we not reasonably conclude that the source of our consciousness is also in some way a conscious, thinking being? Otherwise how could a non-conscious being or thing give rise to consciousness? Consciousness would be outside of the creator's nature, and therefore in need of some other origin or creation. No, we must logically conclude that the creator of all that exists is a thinking, conscious being.
Consciousness then, is a third characteristic of the creator we may deduce from its creation. Beyond that we can assume that the reasoning power—the intelligence—of such a being would be as far above our limited human reasoning ability as it's power and creative ability is above our power and creative ability.10
We have now outlined a logical train of thought which establishes the reasonableness of belief in the existence of a non-physical, creator being, the source—the origin—of all that exists, beyond time, and limitless in power. We have determined that this source must be a conscious entity of some sort—a "being", and not just a force or tendency. With our own minds we have discovered or developed from our view of this observable universe, the requisite supreme intelligence of such a creator being. But what else can we build upon the multiple, foundational layers we have built so far? Is there more that we can know about the "Unknown [supreme being]" that the Apostle Paul spoke about in Acts 17:23? Once again, taking a cue from our own mind, our own thought process, we might be so bold as to consider many of the character traits which we humans almost universally accept as the ultimate, highest and most noble of virtues—love, goodness, honesty, justice, mercy, fidelity, fairness—must have their origin in this same creator being. That is to say, the supreme, non-physical being that created all that is must itself be supremely good, even above and beyond our best understandings of that notion. Our loftiest concepts of goodness and righteousness would have to be ascribed to such a being since without an supremely good and righteous creator being, such notions as ultimate goodness and righteousness would be totally arbitrary—merely expressions of our own personal preferences. Yet, we find among humanity an almost universal belief in the superiority of such concepts as goodness, honesty, decency, justice, and mercy. Most interestingly, we find ourselves "instinctively" believing such personality traits to be superior, even though we recognize that we ourselves fail miserably at attaining these noble goals.
Along those lines the noted Christian apologist of the 20th century, C.S. Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity, stated: "These, then, are the two points I wanted to make. First, that human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. Secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law of Nature; they break it. These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in."11 Where then do such concepts as right and wrong, good and bad, morality, decency, honesty, and justice come from?
We find ourselves unable to live up to our most noble concepts of character—often not even wanting to, yet we instinctively acknowledge within ourselves the superiority of these concepts, and believe that we should follow the good and avoid the bad. If we do not by nature want to keep the best and most noble character traits, yet we (when we are honest with ourselves) admit that they are superior, we then are clearly acknowledging that these concepts of good and bad come from outside ourselves. Since an impersonal universe cannot impress unselfish concepts upon our conscience, we come again to the necessity of the existence of the non-material creator we reasoned must exist when we built the previous steps in our logic sequence on metaphysics.
In addition, if the creator has collectively impressed these concepts upon our human consciences, then that same creator must itself be endowed with the very same character traits—likely to a degree even beyond our ability to fully comprehend. If it did not, it would not itself be superior to our concept of "perfection", and therefore could not be a truly superior being. No, he12 would have to sum-up the perfect fulfillment of our most positive moral concepts and characteristics otherwise He could not be the supreme being that impressed those very concepts upon us.
The Purpose and Meaning of Life
Having now established the reasonableness of ascribing consciousness as well as humanity's highest, most superior and universal concepts of goodness to the all-powerful creator of all that exists, can we go any further? What else can we comprehend about the creator and its nature from the universe around us (or the universe within us)? Remember that we are laying a sequence of steps, each one logically built upon another, as we construct our logic sequence on metaphysics. Each step has been shown (at least in summary) to be a reasonable conclusion based on the facts on-hand. Having then established this current foundation of understanding of the existence and nature of the universal, creator being, is there anything we can use in our previous steps—our previous foundations that we have already proved—to now lead us further and deeper into our logic sequence on metaphysics? After all, what is the purpose of a foundation if it is not then built upon?
Consider the following: let us admit and be fully convinced in our own minds that we now can know for certain that there is a supreme creator of all that exists, a conscious being of infinite energy, eternal and beyond time. Furthermore, we now know that that being must be perfectly righteous, loving, kind and compassionate. This loving being created us not just as a thing, but as a self-aware, thinking, cognizant creature, a creature that seems to have an instinctive desire for purpose in life.
We now need to ask ourselves, would it be in the nature of a loving creator to design creatures with the unquenchable need and craving for purpose in life, yet not have such a purpose for them? Is it possible for an all-wise, loving, creator being to create beings such as ourselves who need to feel useful and wanted, who need to continuously see goals (both short and long term, both transitory and transcendent), yet not have any such plan for us—no goals, no plan, no purpose? No, such a creator would in fact be, at the very least slip-shod, shallow, and incomplete in his planning and creating, and at worst, cruel and wicked.
Great human minds down through the ages have pondered the "meaning of life"—individually and collectively—so much so, and with so little success, that the very phrase is used as a source of jokes, a term of derision, and even the title for a popular, irreverent comical movie. However, a supreme creator who created cognizant, thinking, meaning-seeking beings without a purpose would not in fact be supreme—He would not be the all-wise, all-loving, ultimately-just being we have already recognized must exist. No, our proven creator, the only such being which may logically be shown to exist, must have a purpose for its creation—a purpose and meaning so awesome, so far above and beyond our ability to conceive of, that it fully expresses the supreme love and goodness of the creator's very nature! The supreme pinnacle of that creation plan must therefore be the one and only creature He has given the quest for meaning and purpose—man, "Adam,"13 that clump of red clay that we are.
So where has this taken us? We have proven the existence of an all-powerful, eternal creator being, one which fills-up the perfection of the most noble characteristics of being that we can imagine. We see the logical necessity that such a being would have to create with a purpose—a purpose for all of its creation, and a special purpose for the one creature it created to desperately seek such a purpose.
We need now ask whether such a noble, loving, just creator being, one which must have created with a purpose, and designed the psyche of one of its creatures to seek that purpose, would provide a means of finding out that purpose for existence—that ultimate meaning of life. Yes, truly it would—to not do so would, again, be cruel and uncharacteristic of the already proven nature of that perfect creator being.
It seems reasonable then (in fact, logic demands it!), that the creator would have provided some record of how and why it created us, and what we should be striving for as our ultimate goal in life. It is incumbent upon us then to seek-out that direction, that guidance, that revelation of purpose that our reasoning demands must have been given by the creator to even the very first human.
That revelation is out there; we must find it! "Knock and it shall be opened to you, seek and you shall find" (Matthew 7:7), said the one that even secularists acknowledge as the wise Rabbi of Nazareth. "I said not to the seed of Jacob, Seek me in vain" (Isaiah 45:19), said the one that the ancient Hebrews, the descendants of the patriarch Jacob (Israel) acknowledged as the supreme creator being. So, seek we must, and success in our quest is assured, for we have proven that "the truth is out there", and our creator wants us to find it!
A little research into the religious records of ancient man—the Upanishads literature—the sacred writings of the Brahmins of ancient India; the Zoroastrians of Persia; the Buddhists of south-east Asia; the recorded works of Confucius—the wise man of the far east; the Koran of the Muslims; and the historical and religious works of the Hebrew people—will show only one, unique, record that claims to be the recorded word of the supreme creator of all that exists.14 As the former Boden professor of Sanskrit, Professor M. Montiero-Willams has written of the "sacred" books in which he is an acknowledged expert, "Pile them, if you will, on the left side of your study table; but place your own Holy Bible on the right side – all by itself, all alone – and with a wide gap between them. For, there is a gulf between it and the so-called sacred books of the East which severs the one from the other utterly, hopelessly, and forever...a veritable gulf which cannot be bridged over by any science of religious thought."15
The Judeo-Christian "Bible" is the only work that is self-documenting, and is the only collation of written documents which makes such a claim of direct inspiration. It can be said to be self-documenting by the fact that throughout the collection of writings commonly known as the Bible, the writers and speakers consistently refer to other writings of the collection as part of a whole—as parts of a unified body of inspired documents. In the book of John in the "New Testament", Yahshua (speaking of the body of documents which are today generally called "The Old Testament" by Christians) is recorded as telling a group of antagonists who questioned his inspiration, "...the scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35). The Apostle Peter said of that part of the Old Testament generally referred to as "The Prophets" by Jews of that day, that the words of the prophets, "came not in old time by the will of man" (2 Peter 1:21). In another place, speaking of the writings of his fellow apostle Paul, Peter referred to them as part of scripture (2 Peter 3:16).
The human writers of that collection of books called "The Bible", or "The Scriptures" say that the supreme creator being of the universe spoke to them, and they wrote it down. First person quotations by them, indicated by phrases such as "Yahweh spoke to me saying" or "Yahweh has spoken saying" appear at least 3800 times in those scriptures.16
That personal spirit being whom they quoted said of himself: "Lift up your eyes on high, and see! Who has created these things [the stars and galaxies of this created universe], bringing out their host by number? He calls them all by name; through the greatness of his might and strength of power, not one fails." (Isaiah 40:26-27), and "Thus says [the Supreme Being] Yahweh, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which comes out of it; he that gives breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:" (Isaiah 42:5), and "I am Yahweh, the maker of all things; who alone stretched out the heavens, who did spread forth the earth by myself;" (Isaiah 44:24), and "I am [the Supreme Being], and there is none else; I am [the Supreme Being], and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, my counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:" (Isaiah 46:9), and "For thus says Yahweh who created the heavens; the [Supreme being] himself who formed the earth and made it; he who established I, he did not create it in vain [without purpose], he formed it to be inhabited: I am Yahweh, and there is none else. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek me in vain: I am Yahweh, speaking righteousness, declaring things which are right." (Isaiah 45:18-19).
He challenges us: "I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I showed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass. Because I knew that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew, and your brow brass; I have even from the beginning declared it to you; before it came to pass I showed it you: lest you should say, My idol has done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, has commanded them. You have heard, see all this; and will you not declare it? I have showed you new things from this time, even hidden things, and you did not know them. They are created now, and not from the beginning; even before the day when you heard them not; lest you should say, Behold, I knew them." (Isaiah 48:3-7) (predicted history, in the written record!), and "prove me now [in the following way], says Yahweh of multitudes" (Malachi 3:10) (conduct a scientific test!). Take up the challenge, yes, put him to the test—he demands it of us.
We are not given the luxury of "straddling the fence" on the questions of his existence and his nature. He and our innermost nature require us to prove the truth or falsehood of these claims to ourselves, and discover the real "meaning of life"!
Notice what he told the ancient Israelites through his prophet Elijah (EliYahu): "How long will you delay between two opinions? if Yahweh is [the Supreme Being], follow him: but if Baal,17 then follow him" (1 Kings 18.21). We are commanded to seek-out, prove-out, and obey the one true supreme creator being.
The Supremacy of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures
To prove the authority of the Judeo-Christian scriptures would in itself take many books and is not within the scope of this broad overview of a logic sequence on metaphysics. However, in addition to the absolute necessity of the existence of such a record (as detailed above), the following quotes are but a sampling of the rational, historical proofs detailed in books on Christian apologetics:
1. Historical/archaeological verification:
Many historical events in the remainder of the Old Testament have direct confirmation from external sources. To mention just a few: the invasion of Pharaoh Shishak into Palestine (I Kings 14:25, 26); the rebellion of King Mesha of Moab (II Kings 3:4, 5); Tiglath-Pileser III's destruction of Samaria and deportation of the people of the Northern Kingdom (II Kings 17:5, 6); the existence of Ahab and Jehu (I Kings 16-22; II Kings 9-10); Hazael's usurpation of the Syrian throne (II Kings 8:7-15); Hezekiah's payment of tribute to Sennacherib (II Kings 18:14); Hezekiah's construction of pool and conduit (II Chronicles 32:2-4, 30); Sennacherib's campaigns in Judah (II Kings 18-19; Isaiah. 36-38); Nebuchadnezzar's campaigns in Judah (II Kings 25:21, 22); Jehoiachim's residence in Babylon (II Kings 25:27-30); Cyrus' policy of liberating captive peoples and rebuilding their religious sanctuaries (Ezra 1:2, 3); the existence of Sanballat and Tobiah (Nehemiah 2:10, 19); the existence of a colony of Jews in Egypt after the conquest of Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 41-44); and many, many more. Most scholars in this field would concur with me when I say that it's no longer proper to ridicule the Bible as an old folk tale full of myths and legends that never really happened. Most scholars would agree with Glueck, when he says, 'It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archaeological finds have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible.'18
There are now more than 5,300 known Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. Add over 10,000 Latin Vulgate and at least 9,300 other early versions (MSS) and we have more than 24,000 manuscript copies of portions of the New Testament in existence today. No other document of antiquity even begins to approach such numbers and attestation. In comparison, the Iliad by Homer is second with only 643 manuscripts that still survive.
Kenyon continues in The Bible and Archeology: 'The interval then between the dates of original composition and the earliest extant evidence becomes so small as to be in fact negligible, and the last foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed. Both the authenticity and the general integrity of the books of the New Testament may be regarded as finally established.'19
No other writings in history have been so revered, so reproduced, and so preserved as the Hebrew and Greek scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.20 The Jewish scribes from pre-Roman occupation through to the middle ages are documented as having preserved the Hebrew Scriptures with exacting care.
Author Floyd McElveen documents in his book, God's Word, Final, Infallible and Forever: "The Jews...preserved the word meticulously, as shown by a comparison of the Massoretic text, and even the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Massoretic text several centuries before Christ, with the Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered in 1947, in a cave about 8 miles south of Jericho. The Dead Sea Scrolls are manuscripts dated by experts about 100 years before Christ. The oldest Isaiah Massoretic text Christians had to depend on for the book of Isaiah in the Bible was dated 916 A.D. How much did the text change in 10 long centuries of transmission, of copying and re-copying the Bible? At last a test could be made!" Then, quoting Geisler and Nix's, A General Introduction to the Bible, McElveen goes on to say, "Of the 166 words in Isaiah 53, there are only seventeen letters in question. Ten of these letters are simply a matter of spelling, which does not affect the sense. Four more letters are minor stylistic changes, such as conjunctions. The remaining three letters comprise the word 'light', which is added to verse 11, and does not affect the meaning greatly. Also, thus, in one chapter of 166 words, there is only one word (three letters) in question after a thousand years of transmission—and this word does not significantly change the meaning of the passage. This sample is typical of the whole Isaiah A manuscript."21
Although the Greek New Testament scriptures can only be considered inspired in their original (un-translated) pre-Greek form,22 the record of the transmission and preservation of the majority of the text is still, truly, a story of supernatural intervention. In addition to the immense volume of copies and translations mentioned previously, even more telling is the diverse record of lands in which the texts were preserved. From the Codex Sinaiticus, found in a monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai23 and believed to date from 350 AD,24 to the Codex Vaticanus, dated from the same time period, kept in the Vatican in Rome,25 to the Syriac (Armenian) Peshitta, said by Mar Eshai Shimun, "Catholicos Patriarch of the East" to have been delivered to the assemblies of the east, "from the hands of the blessed Apostles themselves in the Aramaic original,"26 The New Testament scriptures in their various forms have been revered and protected throughout the Roman world of the 5th Century as well as the less historically documented regions beyond.
Given the rational necessity for a record of the supreme being's message to man (as outlined above), the seeming super-natural preservation of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures cry out from every page as the message to man of the supernatural protector of those pages, the great "I AM"27 who reveals himself to us from each of those very same pages.
3. Wisdom/supernatural knowledge:
Would not a book written under the guidance of the supreme being who created all things demonstrate an understanding and comprehension of the laws of physical science far above and beyond the physical knowledge of the men used in writing it? Would not a book written by the supreme being who formed the thoughts and wisdom of man demonstrate a wisdom and philosophical complexity far above that of his creation?
In the Hebrew scriptures we find statements attesting to the superiority of knowledge and wisdom of the one claiming to be its author, Yahweh, the supreme being of the Hebrew peoples. Through Job he asks,"...how should man be just with Elohim...He [Yahweh] is wise in heart...Which does great things past finding out; yes, and wonders without number" (Job 9:2, 4, 10), and "From where then comes wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?...Elohim understands the way of it, and he knows the place of it" (Job 28:20,23), and "Do you know the laws of the heavens or do you set their rule over the earth?" (Job 38:33).
He challenges us through His human writer, Isaiah: "Have you not known? have you not heard, that the everlasting Elohim, Yahweh, the Creator of the ends of the earth, faints not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding" (Is 40:28). He contrasts our minuscule understanding relative to his by saying in the psalms: "...he that teaches man knowledge, shall not he know? Yahweh knows the thoughts of man, that they are vanity" (Psalm 94:10, 11). Again, through Isaiah says, "It is he that sits upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants of which are as grasshoppers; that stretches out the heavens as a curtain, and spreads them out as a tent to dwell in: That brings the princes to nothing; he makes the judges of the earth as vanity...To whom then will you liken me, or shall I be equal? says the most set apart one. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who has created these things, that brings out their host by number: he calls them all by names by the greatness of his might, for he is strong in power; not one fails" (Is 40:22-26). In Psalm 147:5 the writer, speaking of the greatness of Yahweh, states: "Great is our king, and of great power: his understanding is infinite".
So then, are there any examples of this great wisdom, handed down through the writers of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures?
Consider first the clean food laws of the book of Leviticus. They forbid the ingestion of a number of creatures which medical science is only now recognizing as unfit for human consumption—pork, shellfish, birds of prey. In his autobiographical book, Patient Heal Thyself, Dr. Jordan Rubin describes a host of chronic medical problems which seem to stem from improper (non-scriptural) diets. He states, "...whether you believe that the Bible is the inspired word of [the creator] or not, there is no denying that the Old Testament (or Tanach or Scriptures as the Jews refer to it) describes in great detail the dietary habits of a group of people who were healthier than all of their neighbors. All I'm saying is that there is wisdom in the Bible that goes far beyond the spiritual—especially when it comes to dietary considerations."28
He then goes on to detail the health benefits of what he has coined "The Maker's Diet", which avoids refined, processed "modern" foods, and eschews the consumption of fish without fins and scales, pork, animal fat, and blood—all of which are prohibited in the Hebrew scriptures.2. He cites a study performed by Dr. David Macht of Johns Hopkins University which compared the toxicity of (Biblically) clean meats, verses unclean meats using a standard growth culture, growth rate test. Dr. Rubin states, "In all cases the flesh of the Biblically clean animals tested nontoxic and the flesh of the unclean toxic. The blood of all animals was more toxic than the flesh."30
Beyond this, the scriptures also forbid the eating of any animal which dies of itself or is not butchered in a sanitary, humane manor—prohibitions which the modern science of Microbiology (the study of germs, microbes, and their relation to diseases) gives a real scientific backing to.
In addition to the clean food laws, the Hebrew scriptures also include very detailed instructions on the medical practices of quarantine, sanitation, and personal hygiene which seems to assume knowledge of the principles of contagion and germ theory which were only developed 3200 years later, after the development of the optical microscope. Leviticus chapter 13 orders priests to separate persons with skin diseases from the general population, to sanitize their houses, and upon recovery, to have the formerly infected person wash their clothing. Leviticus 21:11-13 gives specific instructions in how to purify and sanitize a foreigner who is captured in warfare and is to be added to a Hebrew household. Leviticus 17:15 commands cleansing for any Hebrew who comes in contact with a carcass of an animal that died of itself, a procedure which, if followed, would prevent any number of animal and insect borne pathogens, from rabies to the bubonic plague. In personal hygiene Yahweh is recorded as commanding the Israelites, "You shall have a place also outside the camp, where you shall go forth abroad: And you shall have a paddle upon your weapon; and it shall be, when you ease yourself abroad, you shall dig with it, and shall turn back and cover that which comes from you" (Deuteronomy 23:12-13). All these commands are given in exacting detail, and were made mandatory on every Hebrew.
Beyond the laws of sanitation, the Hebrew scriptures speak of the importance of humane and environmentally-conscious care for the creatures of the earth—both domesticated and wild. A Hebrew was not allowed to deplete the entire family of a wild nesting bird (Deuteronomy 22:6-7). Lost and starving animals were to be returned to their owners (Deuteronomy 22:1), and if an animal was found loaded-down with too heavy a burden, a passerby was commanded to help alleviate the animals discomfort (Deuteronomy 22:4). A compassionate attitude toward even lowly beasts of burden is demonstrated by the command, "You shalt not muzzle the ox when he treads out the corn" (Deuteronomy 25:4)—even animals were not to be denied reasonable "wages" for their labor.
In warfare the Hebrews were not allowed to destroy trees (such as the olive tree) which were necessary for the future economic welfare of the enemy's land. In Deuteronomy 20, verses 19-20, Yahweh is recorded as commanding the Israelites through Moses: "When you shall besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, you shall not destroy the trees of it by forcing an ax against them: for you may eat of them, and you shall not cut them down (for the tree of the field is man's life) to employ them in the siege: Only the trees which you know that they are not trees for food, you shall destroy and cut them down; and you shall build bulwarks against the city that makes war with you, until it is subdued"—a principle of restraint that even supposedly modern man seems to have overlooked in this age of total war against enemy combatants, civilians, and infrastructure.
In the field of law the Hebrew scriptures once again show insight seemingly far ahead of their time. Exodus 12:49 states, "One law shall be to him that is home-born, and to the stranger that sojourns among you", establishing a strict principle of equality under the law which is even today considered a lofty goal. Similarly, Leviticus 10:33-34 states, "And if a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not vex him. But the stranger that dwells with you shall be to you as one born among you, and thou shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt". Deuteronomy 17:6 establishes the important principle of "modern" jurisprudence by declaring that a person can only be convicted of a capital crime by the accusation of at least two witnesses, saying, "At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death".
In today's economy of goods and services, it seems that most manufacturers and marketers are always out to shave just a bit off the size of their products in order to deceive consumers into thinking they are getting a better deal. Then workers are paid in a currency which continually depreciates in buying power, robbing them of their fair store of value for work performed. The law of Yahweh however states, "You shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure. Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall you have...observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: I am Yahweh" (Leviticus 19:35). If only we could be so advanced today!
These and other just laws and judgments can not be just the advanced developments of a small tribe of wandering middle-eastern peoples, for the Hebrews themselves were unable to live up the lofty standard that their law demanded of them. Over and over again Moses and the Hebrew Prophets castigated the people of Israel for their disregard for the laws preserved for them in their scriptures. Moses is recorded as warning the recently freed Israelites, "For I know that after my death you will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because you will do evil in the sight of Yahweh, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands" (Deuteronomy 31:29). Not long after, Joshua, Moses' successor, was recorded as telling the people, "You cannot serve Yahweh: for he is a holy [supreme being]; he is a jealous [supreme being]; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins" (Joshua 24:19). Hundreds of years later the prophet Jeremiah wrote down Yahweh's accusations against the Israeli people saying, "Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not listened to my words, nor to my law, but rejected it" (Jeremiah 6:19).
If the religious scriptures of the Israeli people themselves make clear that the people would be unable to keep the righteous law contained in those very same collection of writings, how could it be the product of their own wisdom or imagination? Surely a law created by a people would be a law those same people would be able to keep. If however, a law was a law given to them by a greater and wiser power (their great creator being Yahweh), only then would it be reasonable to believe that they could not fully live up to their own law's perfect ideal!
4. Internal consistency:
The Judeo-Christian scriptures show a self-attesting, cross-referenced, internal consistency which cannot be accounted for by human activity alone. Hundreds of scriptures spanning dozens of writers over thousands of years agree in detail on subjects as diverse as history, theology, law, science, and philosophy. The inspired writers of the various books of the bible quote each other, and attest to the historicity of each other.
The books of Kings and Chronicles, for example, record in detail much of the same history of the Jewish and Israelite kingdoms, and were clearly written at different times, by different authors, for a different audience, yet, the chronologies differ by few if any details. Those differences which do appear to exist may be ascribed to minor scribal copying errors.
The compilations of the New Testament Scriptures quote or allude to the earlier, Hebrew scriptures thousands of times, describing them as "unbreakable" (John 10:35) "holy" (2 Timothy 3:15), "given by inspiration of [the supreme being]" (2 Timothy 3:16), not "of any private interpretation" (2 Peter 1:20), spoken (then written down) by men only under the inspiration of the spirit of Yahweh (2 Peter 1:21).
In their book, Reasons Skeptics should consider Christianity, authors Josh McDowell and Don Stewart make a compelling description of the internal cross-referencing seen in the Judeo-Christian scriptures when they write: "[Yahshua] was conversant with the Old Testament and its content. He quoted from it often and He trusted it totally...He confirmed [referenced] many of the accounts in the Old Testament, such as the destruction of Sodom and the death of Lot's wife (Luke 17:29, 32), the murder of Abel by his brother Cain (Luke 11:51), the calling of Moses (Mark 12:26), the manna given in the wilderness (John 6:31-51), the judgment upon Tyre and Sidon (Matthew 11:32), and many others."31
The Judeo-Christian scriptures truly is a document whose "40 to 50 authors, working over a period of from 1500 to 1600 years... writing 66 books"32 all see the collected writings as a unified whole. Throughout the 66 books of the scriptural cannon, we see the same theme and the same message reported over and over again—the extreme righteousness of Yahweh, His laws, and His judgments, the failure of His people to live up to the high standards of those perfect laws, the need for some sort of payment or fine for the breaking of those laws, and the description of a future time when those laws will be earnestly followed by all the peoples of the earth, under the guidance and enforcement of a perfectly just but loving king and His associates.
5. Fulfilled prophecy:
The Judeo-Christian scriptures claim to be the revealed understanding, viewpoint, and wisdom of the supreme creator being who describes himself as; "I am who I am...Yahweh, the Elohim of your forefathers" (Exodus 3:14). In saying He is the great "I AM", or "hayah" in Hebrew, He was ascribing to Himself continuous, perpetual existence—as someone who is beyond time. Written by the guidance and command of Yahweh, the Judeo-Christian scriptures by necessity then must exhibit the same past, present, and future fullness that His name exhibits. Inspired by a being for whom time is but a tool, these writings must proclaim the future from the past, the meaning of the past from the present, and fold past, present, and future together like the parchment scrolls upon which the words were originally recorded. We find such a claim of infinite reference to his writings recorded in the book of the prophet Isaiah, where Yahweh is recorded as saying, "I have declared the former things from of old; yes, they went forth out of my mouth, and I showed them: suddenly I did them, and they came to pass. Because I knew that thou are obstinate. therefore I have declared it to you from of old; before it came to pass I showed it to you...I have showed you new things from this time, even hidden things, which you have not known. They are created now, and not from old; and before this day you heard them not; lest you should say, Behold, I knew them." (Isaiah 48:3-8).
Many of the books on apologetics listed earlier in this document itemize dramatic, proven fulfillments of prophecy which can be found in the Judeo-Christian scriptures. The story of the rise and fall of nations, and the names of kings not yet born are listed in the Scripture's prophetical books. Skeptics, in an attempt to eliminate the supernatural nature of these prophecies often believe that it is necessary to date their composition beyond the time of the latest obvious fulfillment described in the prophetic books. Yet, so many times after a late date has been proposed by skeptical archaeologists and Bible scholars, a new, earlier manuscript reference is found in museums, ancient libraries, classical literature fragments or archaeological digs, alluding to, or quoting the alleged, after-the-fact prophecy.33
A few examples of prophecy shown to be fulfilled in history are:
The exiling of the nations of Israel and Judah, predicted by Yahweh through Moses in Deuteronomy 4.25-28, and recorded as fulfilled in 2 Kings 17 and 2 Kings 24:24, and secular history books.34
The progression of major nation states in the Middle East, predicted by Daniel in chapter 2:36-45, and chapters 7 and 8, and recorded as fulfilled in secular history books.35
The destruction of Tyre at the hands of the Babylonians, predicted in detail in Isaiah chapter 23 and Ezekiel chapter 26, and recorded as fulfilled in secular history books.36
The destruction of the Babylon, predicted in Isaiah chapters 13 and 14 and Jeremiah chapters 50 and 51 while Babylon was still at the pinnacle of her power, and recorded as fulfilled in secular history books.37
The coming of a future, world-ruling king, a descendant of David, who was to first give himself up in perfect payment for the crimes committed by all creation against the righteous law of his father, Yahweh—predicted throughout the Hebrew Scriptures (see, for example: Deuteronomy 18:15-19, Psalm 22, Isaiah 9:1-8, 11:1-16, 52:14-53:12, Malachi 3:1-4,), and recorded as fulfilled in the New Testament (Greek) Scriptures (See, for example: Matthew 26-28, Mark 14-16, Luke 22-24, John 18-20, Hebrews 9:11-28, and Revelation 1.5-7), as well as secular references.38
The resurrection account: The ultimate proof. A claim unprecedented in literature or history, made by credible39 eye witnesses, to an audience contemporaneous with the events described. (See: Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20 & 21, Acts 1:4-8, 2:32, 3:15, 4:10 & 20, 5:30, 9:4-6 & 27, 13:30-31, 17:31, 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 & 15, 1 John 1:1-2, 2 Peter 1;16.) In a public debate on the historicity of the resurrection of Yahshua the Messiah between the renowned skeptic Professor Anthony Flew and the evangelical proponent, Professor Gary Habermas, the jury of 5 Philosophers witnessing the debate, and weighing all the evidence presented by both sides, voted 4 out of 5 in favor of the believability of the historical records, accepting that Professor Habermas had proved in a reasonable way the historicity of the resurrection record as presented in the scriptures, with the 5th juror voting that the debate was tied.40
The Ultimate Bedrock
From the reasoning outlined in this writing we now know that it is probable and reasonable to believe in the existence of a non-material, supreme creator being. We now know that the creator must be all-powerful and eternal. We now know that the creator must be a conscious being, with a character more good, more righteous, more just, more noble, and more loving than man's highest, universal comprehension of such character traits. We now know that he must have created us with a purpose, and that he has made that purpose discoverable to us. We now know that the purpose for man's collective and individual existence may be found in the compilation of religious writings known as the Judeo-Christian Scriptures.
It would be very useful for anyone considering the reasonableness of this logic sequence to also study the above referenced, detailed arguments for the inspiration of the Judeo-Christian scriptures. Once this final foundation of the metaphysical logic sequence is proven and fixed firmly in the mind of the sincere seeker, they will have the firm foundation of a house built upon rock. They will have within themselves the fertile soil in which the planted seed of the message of the soon coming kingdom of Yahweh can grow, flourish, and produce good fruit, increased one hundred fold (Matthew 13:23)! They can weather the storms and floods of the disbelievers and antagonists of the message of the kingdom, for their faith can now be firmly founded on the foundation rock of the Messiah (anointed king) Yahshua, now proven to have been born, lived, died, and been raised from the dead. It is the bedrock of reason, enabled by the guiding spirit of Yahweh (His gift of His nature and wisdom within us) that allows us to be assured of the existence of The Bedrock, Yahshua,41 upon whom all future doctrines can and should be built. If we can convince ourselves of the reliability of the historical records, the old and new testament scriptures that speak of his resurrection from the dead, we will have the faith (trust, assurance) that will allow us to weather any storm. It is this historical, believable, written proof of the resurrection of a man from the dead nearly two millennia ago that assures those who have repented of their personal law breaking, and put their trust in him for rescue (salvation) (Acts 2:38), that they will indeed be "saved [from death] by his life" (Romans 5:10). May the great "I AM" of the Hebrews (and truly all mankind!), Yahweh almighty, give you the zeal and wisdom to study his word, allow the spirit of his son Yahshua to re-create your mind and nature in His image, and "make your calling and election sure" 2 Peter 1:18.
HalleluYah42—great praise and thanksgiving—to the most high, supreme being Yahweh, whom we have now proven to exist, and whom we have now proven cares about us individually, out of all of the billions of humans he has brought into being according to his irrevocable will, commitment, and perfect plan.
HalleluYah—great praise and thanksgiving—to the savior, the redeemer, provider, teacher, judge, and king, Yahshua The Anointed One, whom Yahweh has appointed our benefactor.
These facts are true. These facts are sure. These facts are now based on reason—on a reasoning that cannot be disputed or disparaged by even the most ardent of skeptics or agnostics. Like the patriarch Job we can now say with confidence, "For I know that my redeemer lives, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth" (Job 19:25). Believing these things—no, being rightly and fully assured (2 Timothy 3.14) of these things—let us now act upon this knowledge ("For not the hearers of the law are just before Elohim, but the doers of the law shall be justified"—Rom 2:13). Let us now seek out the full and loving will of that one who died so we might live. Through deep study of that now proven record of his actions and will throughout the ages, let us move on to perfection through the taking-on of the nature of that one whose nature we are commanded to ingest in order to inherit, with him, eternal life (John 6:53-56). HalleluYah—great praise and thanksgiving—to him eternally!
1The name "Yahshua" is a reasonable transliteration (phonetic transcription) of the Hebrew name of the subject of the "Christian" New Testament. The New Testament records of Matthew 1:1, 2:2, Luke 2:4, 3:33, John 4:9, John 18:33 with 37, and Hebrews 7:14 indicate that he was Jewish, a descendant of Jewish parents. Such a Jewish boy, of Jewish parents, would have quite naturally been given a Jewish (Hebrew) name. The Strong's dictionary of the Greek new testament indicates that his given name in Matthew 1:21 (Strong's number G2424) is in fact of Hebrew origin, and is identical to the name of the old testament servant of Moses, "Joshua" (or more properly "Yhowshuwa")—see Strong's numbers H3091, H3068, and H3467. This Hebrew proper name is composed of a shortened form of the Hebrew personal name for the supreme creator being, H3068, and the Hebrew word for salvation or deliverance, H3467, as may be deduced from the message of the angel to his mother recorded in Matthew 1:21. What does it matter? Well, for those who consider the message of the New Testament inspired, the warnings of Acts 2:38 ("Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of [Yahshua the messiah] for the remission of sins") and Acts 4:12 ("for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved") have very serious consequences. Additional information on the proper name of the subject of the new (and old!) testament writings may be obtained from Yahweh's Assembly in Messiah, 401 N Roby Farm Road, Rocheport, MO 65279.
2Any good encyclopedia or bible forward will indicate that the tetragrammaton, usually translated from the four Hebrew characters,, "Yowd", "He", "Waw", "He" into the English alphabet characters "YHWH", and generally pronounced "Yahweh", is the only personal name (a proper noun) of the one, true creator spirit being described by the Hebrew religious scriptures. He is also addressed there as "Elohim" (H410), a title in Hebrew, and one used to address a great or mighty man, or spirit being. The name Yahweh however, is a personal name, and not a title, such as is "Lord", "the LORD", "God", or any of the other obfuscatory substitutes of a number of English Bible translations. The ancient history textbook, A Short History of Western Civilization for example, uses the name Yahweh repeatedly in it's discussion of the ancient Hebrew peoples, stating: "But at least some of the tribes gave particular allegiance to the god [sic] Yahweh.", and "Prompted by the inspired leadership of Moses, the Hebrews of the Exodus entered into a covenant, or contract, with Yahweh: They pledged themselves to worship only Yahweh." — Harrison, John B., and Sullivan, Richard E., A Short History of Western Civilization", Third Edition, (Michigan State University, Alfred A Knopf, New York, p. 56, 57). Please write to Yahweh's Assembly in Messiah, 401 N Roby Farm Road, Rocheport, MO 65279 for additional, detailed information on this fascinating topic.
3Messian—A disciple, or student of Yahshua of Nazareth. The Greek word "Messiah", or "Messias", which can be translated as "anointed one" (especially as king) in English, is a Greek equivalent for the Hebrew "Mashiach", which has the same meaning—See Strong's Greek dictionary number 3323, which is from the Strong's Hebrew dictionary number 4899.
4Assuming a lifespan of from 60 to 80 years—a bit long, perhaps, for past centuries, but certainly not beyond the realm of possibility.
5Note this description of the date and time of this modern "inquisition": "New England's tense and repressive atmosphere ultimately found a frightening outlet. In Salem Massachusetts, a hysterical witchcraft delusion brought abut the legal lynching in 1692 of 20 persons, nineteen of whom were hanged and one of whom was pressed to death. Two dogs were also hanged."—Bailey, Thomas A. and Kennedy, David M., The American Pageant, Sixth Edition, (D.C. Heath and Company, Lexington, Massachusetts and Toronto), p 31.
6For a dating of this crusade see Harold O.J. Brown's very informative book, Heresies, where he states: "The next major step in the establishment of the Inquisition was taken by Innocent III (reigned 1198 – 1216). In the west, the same pope launched a "Crusade" against the Cathars, or Albigenses, of southern France in 1208. The Albigensian wars lasted twenty-one years, leaving Provencal's culture in ruins..." Brown, Harold O.J., Heresies, (Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. Peabody, Massachusetts), pp. 260 – 261.
7Using a reasonable dating of some of the final "Christian" persecutions of just before the time of the emperor Constantine (312 – 337). For dating see for example: The 2003 New York Times Almanac, edited by Wright, John W., (Penguin Putnam, Inc. NY, NY), p. 420
8Adler, Mortimer J., How to Think About God, (Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., NY, NY)
9It is interesting to consider in this context that the proven scientific fact of matter-to-energy conversion also requires us to reject the popular, New Age, scientific-sounding notion that the universal source or creator is "a being of pure energy." Energy and matter are the same, and are both simply parts of the created universe. By the reasoning outlined above, anything a part of the created universe cannot be the creator of that universe, and therefore that creator cannot be "pure energy."
10Using the reasoning found above, one might argue that since cognition is within us, and therefore a part of creation, that the supreme, creator being could not be self aware, else part of it's nature would be part of it's creation. This counter-argument breaks down however at it's very basis. Unlike matter and energy, cognition (the characteristic of self awareness), though needing to be sourced in physical beings, is not itself a physical entity. Our requirement of a non-physical origin of physical things does not necessarily hold when the item of discussion is itself non-physical, otherwise there could be no ultimate source of all that exists—it too would have to be created. Such a characteristic of our nature as cognition must have an origin in us though, and we have already determined that by definition this supreme, creator being must be the creator of all physical things, including us, and therefore stands to be the origin of our most fundamental nature. If it is the origin of our self-awareness, then it too must be a definable, thinking, self-aware being.
11Lewis, C.S., Mere Christianity, (Macmillan Paperbacks Edition 1960, Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc)., p. 21.
12Yes, we can now use that personal pronoun of Him—He boldly shows His personality throughout His written record!
13The proper name "Adam", or, as pronounced in the Hebrew, "ah-dahm" (Strong's #H0120) is the generic Hebrew word for "man", and means red, or ruddy. It is related to a Hebrew word pronounced "ah-dah-mah" (Strong's #H0127), which means soil, earth, or ground—from its naturally red color in that part of the world.
14"It is the simple fact that there is nothing that can be properly called history in these other sacred books of the world. They are, as every student of them knows, for the most part, jumbles of heterogeneous material, loosely placed together, without order, continuity, or unity of any kind. There is no order, progress, or real connection of parts. The Bible, on the other hand, is a history with a beginning, a middle, and an end; a history of revelation. "There is nothing like this, nothing even approaching it, in any other collection of sacred books in the world." James Orr, quoted by Dr. Batsel Baxter. Baxter, Batsell Barrett, I Believe Because... (Barker Book House, Grand Rapids MI) ,p. 185
15Quoted by Josh McDowel in, Evidence that Demands A Verdict. McDowell, Josh, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Volume I, (Here's Life Publishers, Inc., San Bernardino, CA), p. 15
16McElveen, Floyd, God's Word, Final, Infallible and Forever, (Gospel Truths Ministries, P.O. Box 1015, Grand Rapids, MI), p. 9.
17"Baal", "the lord"—the false spirit being of a number of middle-eastern nations which surrounded Israel. The title "Lord" is purported to be etymologically related to an Old English word "hlaford", which is derived from the French words "hlaf"—bread, and "weard"—keeper or guard; Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, (copyright 1966 by G. & C. Merriam Co). A lord is then "the watchman, guard, or keeper of the loaf", that is, a lower level royal official or guard—certainly not an appropriate title for the supreme creator of the universe! In addition, the same source also defines Baal, the disgusting "supreme" being of the ancient Phoenicians, as being derived from the Hebrew word for Lord. As if that were not enough, C.J. Koster quotes Robert Ferguson, a scholar of English names, as saying that "'Lord' could not have had its origin from hlaford, but that rather the origin of 'Lord' is from lar, lore, and loride." Koster defines these words as the names of a variety of spirit beings worshiped by the ancient Etruscans, Romans, and Greeks— Koster, C.J., Come Out of Her My People, (Institute for Scripture Research, Pawtucket, RI.) , pg. 57 – 59.
18Hoover, A.J., "The Case For Christian Theism", Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, pp. 129-130, 136.
19Evidence that demands a Verdict", pp. 39 – 41, op. cit.
20In his highly detailed defense of the Christian faith written in outline form, Josh McDowell, of the evangelical organization Campus Crusade for Christ, tabulates six significant points of "uniqueness" relating to the Judeo-Christian scriptures: Uniqueness in continuity; Uniqueness in circulation; Uniqueness in translation; Uniqueness in survival; Uniqueness in teaching; and, Uniqueness in influence on surrounding literature. Evidence That Demands a Verdict, op. cit., chapter 1.
21McElveen, op. cit.
22George M. Lamsa, the highly respected translator of the English version of the Peshitta, the Syriac bible of the east, says in his Introduction, "The Gospels, as well as the Epistles, were written in Aramaic, the language of the Jewish people, both in Palestine and in the Greco-Roman Empire...Greek was never the language of Palestine...The Epistles were translated into Greek for the use of converts who spoke Greek. Later they were translated into Latin and other tongues." Lamsa, George M., Holy Bible From Ancient Eastern Manuscripts, (Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, TN)," Introduction", p. ix, xii.
23Wharton, Edward C., Christianity A Clear Case of History!, (Howard Book House, West Monroe, Louisiana), p. 36.
24McDowell, op. cit., p. 47.
25Ibid., p. 47.
26The Publisher, Holy Bible From Ancient Eastern Manuscripts, op. cit., from the Preface, p. ii.
27The English words "I am" of Exodus 3.14 and elsewhere in the Hebrew Scriptures are derived from the single Hebrew word, "hayah". The renowned scholar of the ancient Hebrew language James H. Strong, defines the Hebrew word hayah (#H1961), the root of the proper name Yahweh as: "a primitive root; to exist, i.e. be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary)"—Strong's Dictionary of the Hebrew Language. The root word of the name of the great creator spirit being, therefore, speaks of his eternal nature—always being, always having been, always to exist, and always able to bring-forth, or create things new in accordance with his irrepressible will.
28Rubin, Jordan, N.M.D., C.N.C., Patient Heal Thyself, (Freedom Press, Topanga, CA), p. 113.
29Ibid, pp. 114, 125-127.
30Ibid, p. 126.
31McDowell, Josh, and Stewart, Don, Reasons Skeptics should consider Christianity, (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, Wheaton, Illinois), p. 29-30.
32McElveen, Floyd, God's Word, Final, Infallible and Forever, op. cit., p. 22.
33Note the overview of this fallacy, especially in regard to the dating of the unified book of Ezekiel, given by Josh McDowell in Evidence that Demands a Verdict, chapter 11, op. cit., p. 270.
34"When Pekah and Rezin moved on Jerusalem (II Kings 16:5, II Chron. 28:5-8), King Ahaz of Judah in a panic called on Tiglath Pileser for help. The Assyrians marched west, imposing tribute on Judah, Ammon, Edom, and Moab, and taking large numbers of people from the Galilee and Gilead areas of Israel into captivity....The new king of Assyria, Shalmaneser V (726-722), took action in 725 B.C., and the Assyrian armies came to Israel. Shechem was captured and Samaria was besieged...in August or September of 722 the city fell... Shalmaneser V took exiles off to Assyrian lands like Guzana (Gozan) and Haran (1 Chron. 5:26)." Thompson, J.A., The Bible and Archeology, (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan), pp. 133-135.
From the 2003 New York Times Almanac, under the history of Israel and Judah we read, "Judah held on until the Second Babylonian Empire under Nebuchadnezzar II (c.605-562 B.C.) destroyed the capital Jerusalem in 57 B.C." The New York Times 2003 Almanac, op. cit., Part 3, "The World, History, Israel and Judah", p. 417. In each case, the same world powers, powers not yet on the world scene during the time of the prophecy, rose to prominence attacked, and destroyed the nation states of Israel and Judah, in perfect fulfillment of the prophecies of hundreds of years earlier.
35As many outlines of history show, the progression of nation states and "world-ruling" empires in the Middle East began with the Assyrians and their spiritual/cultural soul, the Babylonians, continued with the Medio-Persian empire, the Greco-Macedonian empire, and finally with the Roman/European empires of this modern era—See A Short History of Western Civilization, op. cit., "A Chronology of Biblical Times", Reader's Digest Atlas of the Bible, (Reader's Digest Association, Inc., Pleasantville, New York), pps. 142-143, and Thompson, J.A., op. cit., pp. 441-442.
36In the Cambridge Ancient History series we read; "Nebuchadnezzar...evacuated Palestine and Phoenicia without a blow, leaving Tyre to sustain a siege which was carried on by the Babylonians in a desultory fashion for thirteen years, till 573, when Ethbaal the king, receiving no help from Egypt, submitted to Nebuchadrezzor."—The Cambridge Ancient History, edited by J.B. Bury, S.A. Cook, & Feadcock, "Volume III, The Assyrian Empire", p. 302. From that time on, Tyre was no longer to be an independent power in the region, and even the secure island peninsula, which had valiantly withstood the Babylonian siege of the 6th century BCE, finely fell to the might of Alexander's army in 334 BCE, in final fulfillment of the detailed descriptions of Ezekiel 26. From The Reader's Digest Atlas of the Bible we find: "The fall of Tyre to the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar in 573 bore out the prophecy of Ezekiel; and the glory of Phoenicia was at an end."—op. cit., p. 116. From A Short History of Western Civilization we read: "...a number of independent city-states emerged in Phoenicia, the chief of which were Tyre and Sidon...Their independence was finally crushed, however, by the rising power of the Assyrians in the eighth century B.C."— op. cit., p. 54.
37From The Bible and Archeology we read, "The days of Babylon were drawing to a close. Further to the east a petty king, Cyrus the Persian, had in a remarkable way become ruler of both Media and Persia and had embarked on a program of expansion...In October of 539 Babylon fell to the Persians...'the army of Cyrus entered Babylon without battle.'"--Thompson, J.A., op.cit., pp. 168-169.
38Although the authenticity of most such non-scriptural, secular references attesting or alluding to the life, death, and resurrection of Yahshua of Nazareth have been questioned by modern skeptics (as would be expected), many such references have continued to stand the "test of time". One such passage which continues to incite controversy and study among scholars is the reference to the Messiah by the Jewish historian, Flaviius Josephus in which he states, "Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works,--a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day."--Josephus, Flavius, Antiquities of the Jews, from The Complete Works of Josephus, Translated by Wm. Whiston, Book 18, Chapter 3, vs. 3, pg 379. From that same source we also read, "Ananus...assembled the Sanhedrin of the judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James..."--p. 423, Ibid.
Study also the extensive list of references to the Messiah, his followers, and the circumstances surrounding his life, death and resurrection compiled by Josh McCowell in his book, Evidence that demands a Verdict, chapter 5, "Jesus—A Man of History", op. cit.
39Notice the result of the eye-witness testimony of the apostles given in Acts 2.41—around 3,000 people were willing to associate themselves with the apostles, even in the face of persecution and fierce opposition from the Roman and Jewish political/religious establishment of the time. In 1Corinthians 15. 6 Paul states that the post-resurrection Messiah was seen alive by over "500 brethren at once", the majority of which he declares (without historical contradiction) were still alive at the time he wrote.
40Flew, Anthony, and Habermas, Gary, Did Jesus Rise From the Dead? The Resurrection Debate, (HarperCollins, 1987).
41In Yahshua's charter to Peter recorded in Matthew 16.18, Yahshua is describing himself as the true bedrock, the foundation of his future assembly, as contrasted to Peter, the stone, to whom he was delegating some administrative authority as a prototype. Note the passage as translated in Young's Interlinear, with Strong's definitions at key words: "I also and to you say, you are Peter [4074: a (piece of) rock], and upon this bedrock [4073: a (mass of) rock] I will build of me the community ..."
42HalleluYah: A Hebrew term meaning; "Praise you [Yah]". Strong's G239, from the Hebrew H1984, "to boast, celebrate, or commend", and H3050, "a contraction for H3068": "the self-existent or eternal [one]". The term is commonly but inaccurately transliterated into "Hallelujah" or "Praise ye the Lord" in most English translations of the scriptures—see Ps 113.9, 150.6 and Rev 19.1, 3, 4, and 6.
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