Isn't the Bible...

Listing of questions (click to jump to that question)

1. Isn't the Bible full of myths such as the story of creation?
2. Doesn't the Bible contain contradictory statements?  Case in point: did the Roman centurion go to Jesus himself (Matthew 8:5-13) or did he send his friends (Luke 7:1-10)?
3. What is the truth?
4. Is the Bible scientific?  How can it be scientific if it contradicts sciences such as evolution?
5. If it is true that God used physical laws to create the universe, doesn't that imply God is limited by the physical laws too?
6. Is the Bible logical?
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1. Isn't the Bible full of myths such as the story of creation?

Myths are social constructions designed to explain the unknown or to provide explanations for problematic situations or phenomena.  As artificial constructions, they are almost always false and unscientific.  A good example is the ancient Chinese myth of the solar eclipse as the sun being swallowed by the Heavenly Dog.  Biblical stories may seem like myths from the ancient past, but more and more people realize the scientific bases behind many of them.  The "Creation or Re-creation" lesson, not posted in this site, discusses a scientific explanation of the story of creation in Genesis 1.  Pathologists now realize the Kosher dietary guidelines are extremely scientific and are recommended for those health conscious people.  If these were really myths, they would not have such scientific elements...  The scientific reasonableness, I believe, suggests the divine authorship of the Bible.

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2. Doesn't the Bible contain contradictory statements?  Case in point: did the Roman centurion go to Jesus himself (Matthew 8:5-13) or did he send his friends (Luke 7:1-10)?

Most of the time we see contradictions because we do not understand the real meaning of the passage.  A more in-depth study would usually lead us to the right understanding.  The case of the Roman centurion is a good example.  The whole parable must be understood before we can solve the paradox.  Jesus praised the faith of the Roman centurion because he understood Jesus' authority as not bound by physical space.  He, or his friends, told Jesus that He does not have to come because His words are sufficient for healing of his servant, just as he is able to get things done vicariously by commanding his soldiers.  Did the centurion come himself?  I believe he sent his friends.  His friends, acting with the centurion's authority, represents the centurion himself and did get Jesus to heal the servant without the centurion being there.  Luke, a book focusing on Jesus' earthly identity, describes the event literally while Matthew, a book known for its references to Jesus' divine authority, describes the event more symbolically.

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3. What is the truth?

The truth is, by definition, what is true or factual.  Historical facts are parts of the truth, while historians' suggestions of the motives of certain historical figures are not.  For religions, however, the truth has a more specific meaning.  Besides being what is true (e.g., who is the real God), it also is used to imply what intangibles are absolutely right.  Is there a truth for human interpersonal relationships? How should we interact with each other? Furthermore, truth is also used to refer to God.  Jesus said, "I am the Truth, the Way, and the Life" (John 14:6).

One of the most important debates in the Christendom involves the "expandability" of truth.  Is the whole truth that God wants to give to humanity included in the Bible? Some believe so and rejects any new "revelations" offered by others.  Some believe not and go write their own "additions" to the Bible, such as the Book of Morman.  Some see Biblical interpretations as inevitably adding meaning to the original text, and truth can be discovered and revealed to us by God's grace.  The most important thing to remember is that no portions of the truth will contradict other portions, and that any "interpretations" or "revelations" that do not conform to the existing Bible must not be from God.

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4. Is the Bible scientific?  How can it be scientific if it contradicts sciences such as evolution?

The word "scientific" has very specific meanings.  It is generally taken to mean that something based on scientific method of formulating a hypothesis, repeated testing, and deducting conclusions based on observation.  Bible, then, can be considered very scientific for portions that can be "tested." For example, the Bible says people who cast their burdens to God will receive peace.  Ask those who actually cast their burdens to God and see whether they feel more peaceful afterwards.  People's testimonies are the "scientific tests" of the validity of the Bible.  For certain portions of the Bible, however, such testing cannot be done.  For example, the Bible says those who believe in the forgiving grace of Christ will be saved.  Since no tangible proof (e.g., a certification of salvation coming down from heaven) is given while the person is on earth, we have to believe that God will keep His word.  (The Bible does mention certain "signs" that follow believers, and these can be seen as indirect proof of salvation.) Therefore, there are elements in the Bible that we must receive by faith and believe, just as there are some fundamental axioms and postulates in math and science (e.g., through any two points there is exactly one line.) that we must accept before we can study them further.

Some people call Bible unscientific because it is not consistent with some of the "scientific theories" currently in circulation.  This argument cannot hold unless we know with 100% certainty that the theories in questions are true.  Evolution, for example, cannot be considered a scientific theory because it has not been proven and many of its components contradict our current understanding in biology, genetics, and probability.  Please see the "Evolution: Science or Fiction?" lesson for more in-depth discussion.

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5. If it is true that God used physical laws to create the universe, doesn't that imply God is limited by the physical laws too?

If God were truly omnipotent, He will have more than one way to accomplish whatever He wants to accomplish.  Whichever the way He chooses to do this is a manifestation of His unlimited ability, although our feeble minds are not prevented from evaluating it for ourselves.  Consider the task of peeling an apple.  A person can peel it with a small knife, or he can design a computer and a robotic arm, and then write the computer software to control the robotic arm to peel the apple.  The first method is a direct method, while the second method is more indirect.  Which one is more impressive to you?  Does God impress you more by healing your sickness directly through prayer, or by healing you through the herb on the ground which He created thousands of years ago?  As beings biased in favor of tangible things, we tend to undervalue the visible things which are no less miraculous than those that are invisible.

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6. Is the Bible logical?

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Last updated: 1/30/2000