Is Belief in the Bible Rational?
Sermonette 070100 Ann Arbor, Michigan UCG Eric V. Snow
Suppose you were challenged at work or school with these kinds of questions: How do you know whether the Bible was inspired by God? How do you know whether or not it is true? Or suppose somebody commented: It’s laughable to believe in the Bible so much that you think Adam and Eve really lived or a flood covered the entire earth. How would you reply?
The best single proof for the Bible’s inspiration is fulfilled prophecy. In history there have been cases in which the Bible’s prophets predicted something, and then it happened. Let’s look into some examples of this today.
Babylon, on Euphrates River (modern Iraq): Now Isaiah wrote by about 732 b.c., surely by 704 b.c. He predicted Babylon’s destruction and PERMANENT desolation in Isa. 13:19-22, 14:22-23. Yet this city was the “New York” or “London” of its time. It occupied 196 square miles, had 14 mile sides, surrounded by a 30 foot wide moat, had double walls. It’s outer walls were 17 to 22 meters (=yards) thick (ave. 87 feet wide, 11 cars wide). It had 250 watchtowers 100 feet higher than the walls. (Normally for ancient cities not more than 6-7 meters high, 3 meters the ave.) Its walls, according to the ancient Greek historian Herodotus, were 311 feet high. (May be exaggerated some). Center of Idolatry: 53 temples of chief gods, 55 chapels of Marduk, 300 chapels for the earthly deities, 600 for the heavenly deities, 180 altars for the goddess Ishtar, 180 for the gods Nergal and Adad, and 12 other altars for other different gods.
Like predicting both LA and NY to be destroyed.
Basically abandoned by successor dynasty to Alexander the Great, the Seleucids (3rd c. b.c.), who concluded it would be (perhaps) cheaper to rebuild a new capital city elsewhere rather than rebuild the old city.
Strabo visited it during Augustus’ reign (27 b.c.-14 A.D.), said “the great city has become a desert.” Trajan, during his Mesopotamia campaign: “mounds and legends of mounds” there.
Nineveh, on Tigris: The Assyrian Capital. “Ancient Klingons or Kardassians.” Would skin people alive or impale who revolted, etc. Deliberate terror policy. Cruelty boasted of by Ashurnasirpal (r. 884-860 b.c.): I flayed the chief men of the rebels and I covered the walls with their skins . . . some of them were enclosed alive within the bricks of the wall, some were crucified with stakes along the wall . . . From some of them I cut off their hands and fingers, from others their noses and ears, of many I put out their eyes.” Calculated terror policy to intimidate, discourage revolts. Made themselves wildly unpopular however. ZEPH. 2:13-15. Zephaniah had to have written before 648 b.c. Nineveh had a wall 100 feet tall (10 story building), 50 feet thick, 200 foot tall towers, 7 mile circumference, 150 foot wide moat. Nineveh fell in 612 b.c. in 3 months, an amazingly short siege for such a big city. (Philistine city of Ashdod besieged for 29 years, much smaller). When Xenophon and his army passed the city in 401 b.c., already a heap of rubble.
Counter-arguments: Postdating (a priori thinking on when books written), psychics not so accurate, “all cities destroyed” issue, yet Babylon never rebuilt, unlike case with many ancient cities (layers of rubble).
Isaiah 46:8-11: Remember t his, and be assured; recall it to mind, you transgressors. Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, “My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure;” Calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of My purpose from a far country, Truly I have spoken, truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.”