We have all watched shows from time to time purporting to explain certain “mysteries” within the Bible. Usually in these programs, the writers set forth an allegedly “unexplained” phenomenon discussed in the scriptures and then seek the professional opinions of scholars and educators from different institutions of higher learning. The result of these programs is often a conclusion to which most believers in the Bible are shocked and dismayed. Additionally, many who have trusted the Bible on its own merits, after watching such programs, are left with a sense of doubt and generally have more unanswered questions than answered.
There are several types of these programs aired. There are the programs that explain the miracles within the Bible in terms of nature. I watched one program that explained the crossing of the Red sea by the Israelites in terms of a big wind blowing the sea apart at a shallow place. Such naturalistic explanations of the miraculous are common in such programs. Other, similar, programs try to explain the authorship of the Bible in human terms; some question the purity of the life of Jesus; and still others level charges of misogyny against Paul. In these programs, the possibility of God’s existence and intervention in such things is usually ignored and/or relegated to the beliefs of right-wing fundamentalists. How should the Christian respond to such programs?
The Christian should recognize that the people who create such programs base their beliefs upon modern day philosophies more than they do the Bible (if they have any respect for the Bible at all; many do not), and postmodernism is the philosophy of the day. While there are many facets to postmodernism, one of its basic tenets is the belief that there really is no objective truth. Rather, “truth” is the explanation (theory) of something that holds up best against what is called “deconstruction,” a process of providing criticism that tests the explanation (theory). Postmodernism never uses the word “truth” per se, but the word theory (or explanation), in place of truth. The theory or set of theories that is the most falsifiable (that is, has the ability to be falsified by empirical data), but has the least evidence to prove that the theory is false becomes the accepted explanation for what is correct. What that means is that one can never prove the theory or set of theories to be true, it is just that there is no (or little) evidence to contradict the theory (i.e. it can’t easily be deconstructed). So the standard for truth becomes the theory that has the greatest potential to be falsified, but has the least evidence to contradict it. This leads to theories of the “unexplained” that are very naturalistic, because natural processes are more subject to falsification than supernatural theories.
The fact of the matter is that the fundamental assumption of postmodernism is false; truth exists. The statement “there is no truth” would be self contradictory if true, so it must be false. From the conclusion that there is objective truth, we can eventually come to the understanding that God exists and that the Bible is God’s word. Once that is established, we can easily recognize that the Bible contains all of God’s truth and we must believe it. Unfortunately, many people have bought into the philosophy of postmodernism, including many “Christians.” One, however, cannot be a true Christian and hold to the philosophy of postmodernism. It is simply contradictory to many of the plain statements of the Bible. Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Jesus believed in truth. The Bible teaches that we can know God’s truth and that it is God’s truth for all mankind today. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life�” (John 14:6).
What ought a Christian to do about such programs? The Christian ought to keep in mind, that such programs are going to try to explain the supernatural in naturalistic ways. They are not going to assume God is the explanation of the Bible. That means that the miracles of the Bible are going to be explained in ways that would conform to scientific phenomenon. The writing of the Bible is going to be explained in terms of human collaboration and authorship. The personality of Jesus and his relationship to his apostles are going to be explained in terms of modern day psychology. The “hard” doctrines of the Bible are going to be explained in terms of cultural prejudice. Just about anything that would be objectionable to the “modern,” and “scientific” mind, is going to be explained in a naturalistic and unbiblical way. I read a book not too long ago that suggested that Jesus had narcissistic personality disorder.
The Christian knows, however, that God exists; that God, through the Holy Spirit, wrote the Bible by inspiring the apostles and prophets to write His words; that Jesus was raised from the dead; and that there are very supernatural explanations to the “unexplained mysteries” within the Bible. Certainly if God can raise Jesus from the dead, then He can do all of the other miracles in the Bible, as well as inspire men to write His words. The Christian need not bow to the philosophy of postmodernism, nor allow his faith to be shaken based upon the speculations of men who hold their mutable philosophy dear. Tomorrow, the world will be influenced by a different philosophy and when it is all said and done, there is nothing upon which such men can hang their proverbial hat at the end of the day. The Christian, however, puts his faith in God and his word, the unchanging, unbending, and unbreaking standard of truth.