Symproto

Was the Bible Written by Man?

Oct
10

“Scripture is the most important tradition that man can have, and yet how few people make use of it. Instead they read the news.” (Rasmussen, Dennis, The Lord’s Questions, pg. 31.)

An acquaintance of mine recently went on a social media rant about how supportive he is of all people and how he does not judge anyone. Not seeing the irony, he then proceeded to wail against anything religious, how all religions judge, how foolish religion is and my favorite, how the Bible was “written by man.” To drive the point home he capitalized the word MAN followed by an obnoxious amount of exclamation points (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

Practically speaking I do not disagree with the idea that the Bible was written by man. In fact, I defy anyone to produce a text of anything – scientific, religious, historical, or any subject matter that wasn’t written by man. However, I don’t really think that was his argument. What I think he was trying to articulate, albeit incredibly poorly, was that in his opinion the Bible is not inspired by God through man.

This argument is nothing new, and in my mind certainly didn’t require the abuse of the exclamation point. Was the Bible inspired by God, or was it invented by the minds of men? It’s an incredibly important question that all honest seekers of truth should take seriously. It is for that very reason that I am a student of the Bible. I read the Bible, study different translations from the Greek to the Hebrew and I test the teachings and promises made. I know the history, the changes made, what was left out – what was added in. This has been, and will continue to be a lifetime pursuit.

On the New Testament:

“Today the fact is evident, that there are many differences in the manuscripts, either through negligence of certain copyists, or the perverse audacity of some in correcting the text.” (Daniel-Rops, L’Eglise des Apotres et des Martyrs, p. 313.)

But does the fact that there are differences in the texts, suggest that we should not consider them at all? More importantly, should we discount the testimonies all together? 

“Though the New Testament books were written without plan for the whole, and as particular circumstances demanded, and do not contain the ‘fulness of the gospel,’ nevertheless, they cannot be explained by any other hypothesis other than that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that the apostles were true witnesses of His resurrection.” (Barker, James, Apostasy From the Divine Church, p. 15.)

I often wonder if opponents of the Bible put in as much work to know if it’s the word of God. What a difference it is to hear someone argue: “I have studied and read and tested, but it just isn’t for me,” vs. “I’ve never really read it because I don’t want to waste my time on nonsense.” I can respect the opinion of the first line of thinking, because an honest effort was made. Unfortunately, I think too many people dismiss the Bible without giving it a fair shake, without really studying it. In my opinion, it is one thing to say that you don’t have any interest in it, and another to condemn an entire group of people because you know better – even though you haven’t really studied it, because it was written by man and is not scientific!

“The testimonies of the prophets leave to others the task of teaching about the world of common experience. Man’s natural curiosity is sufficient for his science. The teachings of the prophets comes from beyond the world, and it appeal not to science but to conscience.” (Rasmussen, Dennis, The Lord’s Questions, pg. 25.)

“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39.)

Firstfruits

Sep
29

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

The word “beginning” is an interesting one, as it is placed here, and is the purpose of the study today. In the Hebrew the word translated as beginning is rêʼshîyth meaning: the first, in place, time, order or rank (specifically, a firstfruit):—beginning, chief(-est), first(-fruits, part, time), principal thing. The Hebrew word is translated 11 times in the Old Testament as firstfruit.

Therefore, Genesis 1:1 could be translated: As the firstfruits, God created the Heaven and Earth.

What is a firstfruit? The Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828 edition, defines firstfruit as:

  1. The fruit or produce first matured and collected in any season. Of these the Jews made an oblation to God, as an acknowledgment of his sovereign dominion.
  2. The first profits of any thing. In the church of England, the profits of every spiritual benefice for the first year.
  3. The first or earliest effect of any thing, in a good or bad sense; as the first-fruits of grace in the heart, or the first-fruits of vice. (Link)

The BibleDictionary states a firstfruit as “Regarded as belonging to God, and offered by the nation as a whole at the great feasts.”

It is clear then from the scripture, that the earth is God’s, as the “first or principle thing.” Israel was commanded to offer, as an oblation to God, an offering of the firstfruit of the land, as a symbol of their willingness to recognize that all things belong to God, who created the earth:

The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the Lord thy God. (Exodus 34:26.)

As for the oblation of the firstfruits, ye shall offer them unto the Lord. (Leviticus 2:12.)

Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase. (Proverbs 3:9.)

Later, after His sacrifice, death and resurrection, Christ was called the firstfruit:

For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. (Romans 11:16.)

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. (1 Corinthians 15:20.)

But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. (1 Corinthians 15:23.)

Combine this idea with what took place next:

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (Genesis 1:3.)

Who is the light of the world?

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12.)

So God created the earth and provided us a Savior, who offered Himself as a sacrifice to God for us. The firstborn, who was then raised from the dead, the firstfruits of our Father in heaven. In return, we honor the Father and His Son by accepting the Fatherhood of the Creator and obeying His words.