Can I Really Trust The Bible

The Historical And Scientific Evidence Of The Bible Can Strengthen Our Faith

Tim Lundy
Nov 7, 2021    1hr m
It is a natural part of the Christian faith to have questions, even questions about the Bible. One of the most common questions is, "Can I trust the Bible?". This message looks at these questions, and teaches us that we can strengthen our faith in the word by examining the historical and scientific evidence of the Bible. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy: [00:00:36] Well, Venture, as we continue in this series on resilient faith, we're going to take a little bit of a turn this week and over the next few weeks. Because the last several weeks we've looked at these practices of a resilient faith, we've looked at those five things that were highlighted in Kinnaman and Matlock's book. This week, I want to turn it and talk about some of the issues that I think are really important, especially, some of the issues that the next generation struggle with, and things that will impact your faith journey.

Tim Lundy: [00:01:09] You know, this week, I want us to think about how you're rooted in life. In fact, I was reading the analogy that Hope Jahren, she's a science writer, and she wasn't talking about faith, she was literally talking about plants, she's an expert in it. And she said, "You know, the most fascinating and most critical part of a plant's life is where a seed embeds." I mean, think about it, from that moment, that plant has no other choice of where it's going to do life, where it takes root. She writes in it, she says, "No risk is more terrifying than taking that first root. A lucky route will eventually find water, but its first job is to anchor. Once the first root has extended, the plant will never again enjoy any hope of relocating to a place less cold, or less dry, or less dangerous. Indeed, it will face frost, drought, and greedy jaws without any possibility of flight." You kind of feel it, in that little plant's life, the need that it really takes root in the right place. Now, here's the fascinating part, if it takes root, the roots can go deep, 20, 30, 40 feet, depending on the plant. And it can pump water out of the ground, it gets the nutrition out of it. As she writes, she says, "There's literally nothing that will make or break it more than where it takes root."

Tim Lundy: [00:02:44] Now, I say all that, because as we think about resilient faith, and we think about next generation, and specifically, I'll just let you know on this message and the message to come, I think about my kids, I've got teenagers, I've got young adults, and a lot of ways they are taking root in life. And so as we talk about these issues, I've been framing it in a way, how would I dialogue with them? How would we talk about it?

Tim Lundy: [00:03:11] And specifically the issue this week, because I think it's so important that they take root specifically in God's work. I think the Bible is is the soil that really will determine if you're going to have a resilient faith that continues to grow or not. I love how David puts it poetically, look how he describes in Psalm 1, he says, "How blessed is the one who does not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand in the pathway with sinners, or sit in the assembly of scoffers!"0 He's describing, like we talked about that practice, one who has cultural discernment, they don't get caught up in everything that's set around them. But he goes on and he says, "Instead he finds pleasure in obeying the Lord’s commands." Look at it, he says, "He meditates on his commands day and night. He is like a tree planted by flowing streams." Literally, his life is rooted by a stream, by that nourishment, and "It yields its fruit at the proper time, and its leaves never fall off. He succeeds in everything he attempts." Now, what David's describing there, very poetically, is really, I think, for those of us who are Christians and that we're raising next generation, we want them to have the kind of resilient faith that he's describing, they are rooted in life, they are rooted against what will come, whether it's frost, or storms, or all the difficulties of it.

Tim Lundy: [00:04:49] And notice, specifically, he says, this person is particularly rooted in God's word and what God says. Now, I say that because if you study what's happening with the next generation, especially not just the ones we've been looking at, but you go deeper to Gen Z and beyond, the impact of the Bible, the intake of the Bible, is unbelievably decreasing with every generation. I mean, less than 10 percent of Gen Z would say that they read the Bible with any regularity. And the belief in the Bible is going down.

Tim Lundy: [00:05:33] And so when I put the contrast of what David says, here's what a resilient life looks like, and then I look at the studies of what's happening in it. And again, I'll just frame this, this message in particular, I think about my own kids and the kind of life I want them to have. And so I want us to wrestle a little bit, maybe some of the issues around the Bible. Why are they walking away? Why are they not reading it? What are some of the questions that we have? And it's a little bit different message, I'm going to walk through some of the questions that I get as a pastor about the Bible, not just from young people, from all different people. And maybe you're watching this, and you go, yeah, I've got a lot of questions about the Bible, and sometimes we don't even feel like we're allowed to ask them or we have our doubts. And I say this not only for my kids, but I can think back in my own life, especially as I was in my teenage years and even young adult years, even in seminary and ministry, I'd have those times where you stop every so often you go, wait, what if everything we believe is just because we believe it? What if it's really not true? What if I've just been told this all my life? What if the Bible's not true to the way I believe it? Now, I know I've had those doubts in seasons of my life, and maybe you have, or have them now. And I'd want you to hear, I hope you feel that Ventures the kind of place you can ask these kinds of questions. We may not have quick answers for all of it. I do think there's truth, and I think there are things we can point to, so we're going to wrestle with some of the questions around the Bible today.

Tim Lundy: [00:07:11] And again, I don't have time to really do justice to all the questions, but there are answers out there and there are resources. And maybe we can begin a dialogue with this that if you have some serious questions, that we can continue on in a way that you don't have to feel like we don't talk about them. And I think that's really important as parents and as pastors, those of us who are leaders, how do we dive into these things together?

Tim Lundy: [00:07:39] So as we think about some of the questions, I've just kind of summarized some of the core questions I hear at times, and maybe there are ones that you have around the Bible.

Tim Lundy: [00:07:49] The first one, people would kind of say it this way, the Bible is a good book, but is it really God's book? And you'll hear this, people maybe that are in the church and are respectful. Now, some of you wouldn't even agree with that, maybe you'd look at it, you go, yeah, I don't even think the Bible's a good book, and a lot of people out there will say it does harm. I'm not going to argue that point, I'll just start with the fact that there's a lot of people, most of the world in fact, would look at the Bible and they go, it's a good book, it's got good sayings, it's got good teachings, it's got good stories. But then when you come to that line and you go, is it really God's book? Is it really more special then the Hindu writings? Is it more special than the Koran? What's distinct about that? And as you dive in a little bit, it's like, have we put that on it or did it really exist? Does it see itself in that way now?

Tim Lundy: [00:08:50] I think it's important, you've got to let the Bible speak for itself. And so, if you read through the Bible, and I've read through the whole Bible by the way, many times, and I've had the privilege over the years, one of the things I'm so thankful for, is I've got friends who are of other faiths, and we have opened discussions around it. I've had the opportunity both in college and then four-year seminary program to really study the Bible in detail, and I'm really thankful for that education. I mean, to study it in the original languages, and to really dive deep in it, to see some of the science of how it's put together. And don't say that like I've got all the answers, but I do say that I have spent a lifetime in this book, and I have studied at a level, and I continue to read because I think it's important to hear the latest resources in that. And I want you to hear, as someone who studied the Bible for years, I'm more convinced of it now than I've ever been, and that's because of the resources that are available.

Tim Lundy: [00:09:49] And so as you look at it, and when you think about the veracity of the Bible, look how the Bible presents itself. Psalm 119:160, David, this whole psalm and it's a poetic psalm, he's writing worship in it. But he makes this statement, he says, "All your words..." He's talking to God, "All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal." In fact, you'll hear this truth claim throughout the Bible, that over and over again, the writers of the Bible will speak to the fact that God is always true, that God never lies, that God only reveals truth. That God, as he's revealed himself in his word, is true. This truth claim of the Bible itself, now some of you go, well, Tim, that circular, whether you believe it or not, I think it's good to put on record, this is how the Bible presents itself. That over 600 times in the Bible, you'll see the phrase, thus sayeth the Lord, that the person who's speaking, the person who's writing, is literally saying, I got this from God, this comes directly from him. In fact, there's over 3000 references in it to being the word of God. And I say that because you'd be hard-pressed to read through the Bible and not recognize there is a claim here that it's different than other books, there are truth claims here, and it is representing itself as this truth coming from God. And so before you just dismiss it, you've got to embrace at least how it presents itself.

Tim Lundy: [00:11:26] Now what Modern people will often say, and this is usually where it comes, I'll have a lot of people say, yeah, but how could it really be true, how could it be from God, when it's so full of errors or contradictions? I mean, there are just so many things that are not true in it. And sometimes you'll hear that, people throw that out there, oh, there's hundreds of them. And when you start digging in and go, OK, well, OK, what errors? Which one specifically? And sometimes you can go online, you'll find certain ones, and I'm not saying it's not without difficulties, but usually, it breaks down into a few categories.

Tim Lundy: [00:12:03] Some of the so-called errors are conundrums, things that are hard to understand. There's an explanation, you may not always like it, it doesn't mean that it's an error. I'll give you one that's been thrown out for a while, where did Cain's wife come from? You go back to the story in Genesis and there was Cain and Abel, Cain kills Abel. Later in Genesis 5, it says Cain is married, takes a wife. There's a lot of people go, oh, there's an error because it only said that Adam and Eve had sons. And so where did this woman, there must have been other women on the planet, or there's some other contradiction or error that's in it. Now again, the Bible doesn't tell us where Cain's wife came from. One explanation, maybe one that we don't really like a whole lot, but it could have been a sister. In fact, that's what a lot of people would say. Now you hear that, and you go, well, it didn't say that, well, it didn't say it wasn't that. Now again, I'm not saying it solves every difficulty, but before you throw out and say, well, it's an obvious error, where there is silence, you can't fill it in with error per se.

Tim Lundy: [00:13:12] Other ways that you'll hear, a lot of times the contradictions supposedly about the different stories, especially the stories around Jesus, the four Gospels. We'll look at those more next week, and focus specifically on Jesus, because I think it's so important that we really embrace the truth as it's presented around him. But as you look at Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, they tell similar stories at times, sometimes they're talking about the same events, and they describe it in different ways. And a lot of people look at and say oops, there is a contradiction, in this story talks about one angel in this story, and in this story, it talks about two angels. And the story talks about this woman coming, and in this story said there were other women. In this story he fed 4000, in this one, he fed 5000. And recognize some of these, they're actually different events, so that's why the details are different.

Tim Lundy: [00:13:58] And then it's also the impact of different witnesses, it'd be like in a court of law if you went into a court of law and every witness said the exact same story with the exact same words, you'd actually walk away, if you were the jury, and say this isn't accurate, somebody has trained them. They're trying to present this the same because they're covering up some. That's the beauty of the Bible. You have these stories. You have these witnesses. In fact, as experts have looked at it, and they look at the different ways in it, you actually don't find contradictions, you do find differences, but it's the differences of perspective in that.

Tim Lundy: [00:14:43] One of the key ways that people tell me with the Bible is full of errors, they'll throw a miracle, like, are you going to tell me that Jonah actually was swallowed by a whale? Now again, you may not have a category for miracles, you may look at it and go as soon as you come to something that cannot be proven scientifically, then it's obviously an error, that's a pre-supposition on your part. Here's all I would say about the Bible, when the Bible presents miracles, it doesn't present them like they're normal events. That's the whole reason they're in the story, that they're looking at and going this has never been done because it's a story that's telling us how God has interacted with humanity. Now, maybe your worldview has no place for God doing that, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's an error in the story, we're just coming at it with different presuppositions, and depending on how you approach science, we can look at it in different ways.

Tim Lundy: [00:15:40] See, when we think about the Bible, here's what I'd want you to embrace in that. One, the errors that are supposedly in the hundreds, there are some difficulties, they're not what they're presented to be, and I'd encourage you to research it for yourself. I think you need to look at it as well, the Bible was written unlike any other book. I mean, it even makes that claim, look how Paul puts it, he says in Second Timothy, he says, "All Scripture is God-breathed ." It's literally, it's inspired, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness." I mean, that's a radical truth claim right there, that's not true of any of the book, there was an inspiration of what God was doing, Peter said the same thing, he says, "Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." Now notice what Peter is talking about, he's talking about this process of how we got the Bible. He says these guys that wrote the Bible, they didn't come up with it on their own, but as the Holy Spirit moved in their hearts, moved with them. It's this combination of God working, but also through a human agency, through their styles, through their writing, through their perspective, we have these books that were written that are inspired and without error.

Tim Lundy: [00:17:10] You know, the fascinating thing is, if you look through the Bible, I always love looking at how archaeology has confirmed the details of the Bible. I mean, in the Bible, there are stories of cities and people, and it's very specific, and it speaks very specifically how these people and how these places intersected with history. And for the last hundreds of years, archaeologists have dug specifically in the Holy Land, and they've been able to confirm over and over again, wait, these details actually are true. In fact, it really is mind-blowing to think after hundreds of years of archaeology, there has yet to be one archaeological find that disproves any detail in Bible. There's not one that's come forward and that they go, oh, we found this, obviously, the Bible's not true, and yet, there are hundreds where the details of the Bible have been confirmed. That doesn't even take in the fact that you know, Peter is talking about these prophecies that come through Scripture. I mean, we have so many prophecies in the Old Testament that were written hundreds of years before they happened, hundreds of years before Jesus came. You read in Isaiah, 53, or Psalm 22, read in Micah 7, events about how Jesus, where he would be born, how he would die, what would happen to him in his life, and over and over again, they were confirmed.

Tim Lundy: [00:18:45] See, the Bible's unlike any other book, and even as I think of how it's assembled, just think about this for a minute, and this is unlike any other book. If you think about the fact that our Bible, it was sixty-six books that we have, that's how we break it down into the sixty-six books of the Bible. It's written by 40 different authors, I mean, that would be hard enough alone to get 40 different authors and go, hey, we're going to write one united book, you'll have 66 books, different ones of you will write different parts of it, but it needs to be united together. And then add on top of that, it's going to be written on three different continents. On top of that, in three different languages, in Hebrew, Greek, and some in Aramaic. And then add on top of that, you're going to do it over with one thousand five-hundred-year period. If I told you, I'm going to get 40 different people on three different continents and three different languages over fifteen hundred years, and they're going to write one resource that united together, all of which has the same theme, it points to God's glory and the eternal plan of salvation, all of it right there in the Bible. I mean, there's no other book that's been written like this. And so when we look at it and you go, hey, is it a good book, but is it God's book? I would go, I know of no other book that I even put in the category that would be close to even calling it God's book, and I think the Bible has proven itself in that.

Tim Lundy: [00:20:23] Now, the second question that I often get around this, is how do we know the Bible we have is even accurate? I mean, we don't have the original books, we don't have in Paul's handwriting, Moses's handwriting. And if you know anything about it, a lot of people ask, well, wasn't the Bible put together, wasn't assembled much later after the fact? And so if these books that we have today, and the Bible that we have, was assembled so much later and it was after the fact, how do we know this even matches what was originally given?

Tim Lundy: [00:20:58] That's a great question, in fact, it's one of the things that we study in seminaries, one of the things if you study how the Bible came together, it really is a fascinating process. And I don't say it's fascinating because it was like, oh, there's some unique story behind it or a conspiracy, I'm often amused how Hollywood always wants to make this a conspiracy. A few years ago, Dan Brown, with The da Vinci Code and others, and they really want to bring forward, oh man, there are big conspiracies around the Bible. If you look at it, it's really not as exciting as it's presented. In fact, there's this whole science behind it called textual criticism and how to study this. And if you look at it, I get kind of fascinated with it, a lot of people might be bored. But if you go, God superintended that process in a way that we have great reliability in it.

Tim Lundy: [00:21:50] Now here's the key, anytime you have an ancient book, you always have to study it. How many manuscripts? How many copies do we have of that ancient book? And then how old are those copies of it? And so to have the best-attested source, you want something that has a lot of copies of it because that way you can compare the copies and see, are they accurate? And you also want them to be very old, you want them to be very close to the original source. And the great news with the Bible is we have that, we have that both with what we call our Old Testament and the New Testament.

Tim Lundy: [00:22:26] Now the Old Testament, the thirty-nine books that are in our Protestant Bible, they're the same books that Jesus studied in his day. Now how do I know that? Well, there was a council in 90 A.D. in [inaudible], and that council again looked at what they called the 22 books because they didn't separate ones that we do. So when we have like First and Second Samuel, First and Second Kings, they just counted those as one book, but they had the exact same as we have. And so Jesus, when he studied and when he read the Scriptures, he was reading the 39 books that we would look at today. Now the problem in history, if you know anything about Old Testament history, from that time period in 90 A.D. to 900 A.D., in 900 A.D., we have the Masoretic Text, it's the best manuscript, surviving manuscript, we have of the Old Testament for a long time in history.

Tim Lundy: [00:23:26] And so scholars came along, and remember I told you about those prophecies earlier, especially the ones around Jesus that were written hundreds of years before Christ. A lot of scholars said, wait a second, you're telling me the oldest copy we have of the Old Testament comes from 900 A.D.? Well, those prophecies aren't real, see, they were skeptical about it. And here's what they thought, at some point because the last book of the Old Testament is written in 400 B.C, so some point during that one thousand three hundred years, somebody came later and they said after Jesus lived, you know what would really confirm Jesus? Let's put some prophecies in, let's say that Isaiah said this, let's say the Psalm said this, and they added all these things and then will act like they were written before Jesus, and then it'll look like they confirm him and it's this prophetic thing that makes the Bible look true. And again, you might look at it and you go, well, how do you disprove that?

Tim Lundy: [00:24:28] Well, in 1947, you know, it's pretty fascinating, a little shepherd boy was out on the hillside, and he threw a rock and suddenly he heard what sounded like pottery breaking. And he went, and over it, it was an area right by the Dead Sea. And they found a cave there, and in the cave where all these pots, and in the pots were manuscripts from the Old Testament, the books of the Bible. And here's a great part they were able to date these, that these manuscripts were from around 150 B.C., that's what the oldest of them dated to, all of them in that time period. And so suddenly we were able to go from 900 A.D. to 150 B.C., and when they found them, they found all the books of the Old Testament, except for the Book of Esther, there's no copy of Esther there. That doesn't mean Esther is not part of the Bible, they just didn't have a copy there.

Tim Lundy: [00:25:26] But scholars immediately thought we're going to be able to tell which were parts of the Bible and which weren't, we're going to see all these editions, we're going to see where they inserted the prophecies, because these are well before Jesus’ lifetime. And so when they laid those manuscripts out side by side, when they looked at them and compared them, you know, it's fascinating, there's not one word difference, over a thousand years, it had been copied accurately. Because here's what you need to know, those Hebrew scribes, when they would copy a manuscript, they'd stop at the end of it and they'd count from the front and from the back, they knew what was the middle of it, and they'd count the letters. And if the count was ever off by one, by one letter, they would destroy the manuscript. Now, why would they do that in an age when you had to write it out by hand? Remember what I told you earlier when the Bible claimed thus, sayeth the Lord, this is the word of God. See, they'd recognize it like that, they go, man, if this is God's word, we can't misrepresent it. And so, you know, you've got that confidence.

Tim Lundy: [00:26:37] Now, the New Testament is even more fascinating, the twenty-seven books, and the reason it is, is there's such a short time period between when the books were written and the very first copies we have. And we literally have 20-30000 copies of different forms of the New Testament books. There is no ancient book that has as many copies that are as old as our New Testament. From textual criticism, it's the most verified book out there. And so as you look at it, you can know with confidence, yeah, this is actually what was written in it.

Tim Lundy: [00:27:15] Now, you may say, yeah, but didn't they finally put the New Testament together in the fourth century? And I would say in 325, the church councils, and there was a series of councils over that fourth century, at Nicaea, and Carthage, and Constantinople, where the church, the church fathers, came together and they used a process to go, we need to recognize because there was a lot of books that were being brought forward that said, oh, we're part of scripture too, there were a lot of cults, there were a lot of different groups. And that's where your Dan Brown's and others, they love the conspiracy of what's left out. If you actually read the history of it, there's not much conspiracy there. They used a very detailed process because they go, we need to recognize what is scripture, not we're going to vote and pick, but they're recognizing what the church was already using in it.

Tim Lundy: [00:28:09] If you look at the process, they used five-fold criteria. The first criteria was, was this book connected to an apostle? Can we take it back to one of the originals that were around Jesus and connect it to them? Second, is it accepted and used in the church's scripture? Is it already being circulated as scripture in this time? Third, is it internally consistent, both with what was revealed in the Old Testament and in these books? Fourth, is it historically accurate? I mean, if there was a book that said historical things that Christ didn't do, they immediately tossed it as they looked at it. And then the final thing they said, is their spiritual attestation? Does it present the gospel in this way that the whole New Testament together does? And so as you look at that, all those criteria and they looked at some of the books and they debated. The book of Hebrews, they're like, who's the author of Hebrews? We're not sure we know that, so they had to use the other criteria. I say all this guys, I just want you to realize there was a process.

Tim Lundy: [00:29:15] And what I like about that...Some people you hear the process and you go, oh, well, I thought it was Scripture, like God was supposed to just literally drop the whole thing out of heaven. I love that in the whole process that God used human beings, the Holy Spirit moved in the hearts of human beings that we have a book that is inspired and without error. God moved in the history of his church to make sure that book was protected and recognized, it didn't become scripture because those council said so, it became scripture because it already was, and they recognized it as so. It'd be like the Mona Lisa, the Mona Lisa is recognized, some people say it's the greatest painting in the world. Now, it's not the greatest painting in the world, because somebody said so, we say so because it is one of the greatest paintings in the world. In the same way, the Bible is not the Bible because a group got together and they voted on it, and they said so. The group got together, and they go, we recognize where God is moving, and leading, and how he's worked with this, and we already recognize what is.

Tim Lundy: [00:30:29] Now a third question, and people say it in different forms, and hear it here in the valley as well, you can't believe in science if you believe in the Bible, can you? Or flip it the other way, you can't really believe in the Bible, if you're a person of science. And as you hear that it immediately puts those two at odds. And unfortunately, that's the narrative today, that you kind of have to pick your camp, are you a person of faith, are you a fundamentalist, are you one of those Bible people, or Christian people, or are you a person of science? And as you look at that, just hear me coming out of the gate, especially young people, you don't have to live at odds with that, don't let someone box you in just because they said that's the two camps.

Tim Lundy: [00:31:19] Now again, I'll just be straightforward, I am a person of faith, I believe in God, and I recognize that it's by faith. I believe in God. I mean, I have a God who I believe is outside of time and space, he's overall. There's no way I can use a scientific method right now to prove his existence to you, but I think there is evidence of his existence. I think there's evidence of his existence in our world, I think there's evidence in the Bible, and by faith, I believe that. Now, maybe you're an atheist or agnostic, maybe you don't believe in God at all, and I would say you've come to that decision by faith as well. You probably disagree with me, but I would go, it was a faith decision on your part. You took the evidence that was out there, and by faith, you've decided God does not exist, the cosmos is all there is. Carl Sagan, years ago, I like to watch the old Cosmos shows. And I love science, by the way, I love, especially, what astrophysicists and others, and so much a science, for me, it points to God. But again, that's part of my worldview. I would just say for those who've excluded it, I mean, there's no non-circular argument for the case that our perception faculties are reliable. There's no way for you to argue that your perception faculties, that you're not actually in a matrix, you've got absolute faith in your own perception faculties for you to say that there is no God.

Tim Lundy: [00:33:01] Now, we could wrestle about this forever, but I'm starting with the place that all of us have to make a faith choice in that. I would just hate for some of you, and especially for those of you maybe you're graduating high school, or you find yourself in a university setting, you find yourself in a company, and it's almost presented in this way. For the first time in your life, you find yourself in this place, and they go, oh, it's great that you grow up in church. Oh, I'm so, yeah, oh, the Bible, that's a good part of your life. But now you're an adult, and smart people don't believe that, smart people don't believe in the Bible, smart people believe in science. And they cast it in a way that, I mean, I think for all of us, we are like, well, I want to be a smart person, I don't want to be one of those ones that are boxed in by my religion. And again, I would just encourage you, don't believe the categories, and the against.

Tim Lundy: [00:33:59] In fact, it's interesting to me if you look back through the history of science, there's not always been this antagonism toward science and faith, or science and Christianity in particular. In fact, if you look at the history of science, I mean just some of the great names of science that we've built it on, you wouldn't have science without Roger Bacon and William of Ockham, who both laid out the empirical method that we built science off of. They both were Franciscan priests, by the way, they were Friars. Roberts Boyle, Boyle's Law, a strong believer. Newton isn't what we'd call an Orthodox Christian, but he believed in God, his theory of gravity was rooted in his belief system. Galileo, who stood up to the church and the scientific world when he declared that the Earth is not the center of the universe, that actually we rotate around the sun. And again, it was a misappropriation of Scripture, but it also was a misappropriation of science, it was Aristotelian science that had been embraced that came up with that perspective to begin with. And Galileo, who was a Christian, and even though he's persecuted by the church for his scientific statement, had a strong faith in Christ. Again, I can go through the names, Michael Faraday, how many things are named after him? The Faraday effect, the Faraday cage, all of it, Faraday, a strong believer in faith. James Maxwell, Lord Kelvin, Gregor Mendel.

Tim Lundy: [00:35:35] Guys, there's not this antagonism between the two, and so maybe if you find yourself, maybe it's at university if you're in a secular university and you find yourself in that setting, and you hear them as they immediately say you can't have both, just remind yourself where you are. We're coming at the world in different ways, it doesn't mean that it's true. And the other thing that you need to know in the modern university today, and the modern science today, there are so many men and women of faith. They've not jettisoned either their faith or their scientific belief.

Tim Lundy: [00:36:15] In fact, one of the resources I highly recommend, I put it in your notes, is this book, Confronting Christianity. And Rebecca McLaughlin, she lives in Boston, and she does work on the different campuses there. One of the campuses where she does different work is MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a bastion of science by anyone's estimation. She says it's interesting if you were to walk the halls of MIT, you'd run into Nuclear Science Professor Ian Hutchinson who is a Christian, or Aeronautics and Astronautics Professor Daniel Hastings, Electrical Engineering Professor Jing Kong. None of them were raised Christians, by the way, they came to faith in Christ as scientists. Artificial Intelligence Expert Rosalind Picard, Chemistry Professor Troy Van Voorhis, he was a grad student at Berkeley when he came to Christ. Biological and Mechanical Engineer Professor Linda Griffith, Dick Yue, Chris Love, Lauffenburger, History Professor Anne McCants, Neuroscientist and former MIT President, Susan Hockfield.

Tim Lundy: [00:37:30] Now, again, as you look at that, that's just a few names, but here's why I throw it out there. I would hope, one, as Christians, we're not scared of science, we'd move into it. And then, secondly, recognize this antagonism between science and the Bible, guys, the Bible is not trying to be a scientific book, it's not even trying to be a scientific book, but likewise, science has not disproven the Bible. And in fact, as you read through the Bible, it matches what science tells us, that the general revelation of this world tells us that there's a God, and then the special revelation of the Bible, tells us specifically what he's like and what he's done.

Tim Lundy: [00:38:23] Again, I'm not a scientist, I love watching it, and reading it, and just reading the latest studies. In fact, a book that I'm reading right now is Stephen Meyer's The Return of the God Hypothesis. And Meyer, if you've read any of his work as a scientist, unbelievable, unbelievable thinker, and what a strong Christian. I'm excited, he's actually coming to Venture in March, and so we're going to have him come and speak on The God Hypothesis and walk through this material. We'll have him preach on a Sunday morning, and then we'll also have him do a seminar on Sunday night. And I would encourage you if you're scientifically inclined, or you know someone that you'd go, yeah, they would really appreciate... And we'll tell you more about it before he comes. But this is a great book, it's not an easy read, but it's a great book that shows us this really isn't a valid question in this, you really can believe both, and there are so many men and women who do. A couple of other questions...And you can see Meyer's book there, just if you want to find it on Amazon, or find it out there. Return of the God Hypothesis by Dr. Stephen Meyer.

Tim Lundy: [00:39:31] A couple of others, one, you don't believe in the Bible, literally, do you? Again, I get asked that, or people would go, OK, when you say you believe in the Bible, OK, I understand you believe it kind of spiritually, I know you believe you know the principles of it, but do you literally believe that? And then people will poke fun at it, because they'll go, OK, if you literally believe the Bible ,and they'll pull out some obscure thing. Well, doesn't it say in the Bible you can't wear a shirt made of two different clothes, some obscure rule in the Bible.

Tim Lundy: [00:40:04] In fact, it's a humorous book, but there was a book written by AJ Jacobs, it's called The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible. And so he took this book and he said, I'm going to apply it and live this out as literally as I can. And he lived in New York, so he grew a beard and he started wearing clothes like the Bible and he started eating kosher. And then he describes kind of the humorous ways he tried to live it out, because he said, well, he read the law that you're supposed to stone people if they break the Sabbath. So on the Sabbath Day, he would go to the park and look at people that were breaking the Sabbath, and since you can't kill people by throwing real stones at him, he'd throw pebbles at them and then turn away when they looked at him. Now, he's writing the whole thing humorously, and his point is no one can live this thing literally. In fact, listen to his words, he says, "Millions of people say they take the Bible literally. A 2004 Newsweek poll put it at 55 percent, but my suspicion is that almost everyone's literalism consisted of picking and choosing, people plucked out the parts that fit their agenda."

Tim Lundy: [00:41:18] Now, I would agree with him in a large part, I think a lot of people like to pluck and choose in it. But for those of us who are Christians that we would say, yeah, I think it's true, and I think it's without error, and I think God actually means for us to live it out in life today. What do you do with the AJ Jacobs? What do you do when people ask you these, and maybe they've asked you these kinds of questions before? Well, one, you have to take the Bible as it presents itself. Guys, when you look at the Bible, it's not like any other book, in fact, it's a collection of books, and people fail to recognize this. The Bible has history, so there's historical books that are telling me what God did in the past, some of which he no longer has the expectation that we do now, and he's made that explicitly clear. Where? In the Bible. And so I'd say to an AJ Jacobs, yeah, when you go look at those rules and all that, you're talking about a time period when God was forming a nation and he gave him a law, and the different parts of that law had civil parts of the law that was just true for that country. It had ceremonial parts of that law, things they were to do as ceremony. And there were moral parts of the law, things that were based on his moral character, of which still apply to me today, but he makes it real clear in the later revelation how that fits with my life now. So I don't just jump into parts and go, oh, how do I do that? I have to take it as a whole for one. Two, I've got to recognize the different genres. So is it a historical book, or is it a poetical book like Psalms, or is it Proverbs, wisdom literature, is it a letter that was written to a specific church? Is it the unique genre of gospels, that are a specific way of telling about the life of Christ? Is it prophecy, that's going to use a lot of figurative language?

Tim Lundy: [00:43:22] In fact, the Bible is full of figurative language and metaphors, it doesn't expect us to apply them literally. Let me give you an example, when Jesus looked at his followers and said, "I am the vine." Did anyone think he was actually becoming a plant in that moment? When he says, "I'm the Good Shepherd.", did it mean he wasn't a carpenter; he suddenly became a shepherd by trade? Or when he says, "I'm the Lamb?". See, we know all of things, they're metaphors, and so as we read them, we go, OK, yeah, I interpret it in that way. In the same way you have to look at the Bible and go, how is the Bible presenting itself, and am I actually interpreting it the way the author meant for it to be written? Now again, this is where study comes in. This is where for those of us, hopefully, who teach the Bible, that's why we do years of training. It's not just this simple book that you just kind of plop it open and you can immediately determine what's the context in that. And I'll just say this to Christians, sometimes we've done damage because that's how we approach the Bible. We just kind of plop it open, and I pick one line and I go, oh, well, that's what it means to me, and we end up confirming the suspicions of a guy like AJ Jacobs.

Tim Lundy: [00:44:36] As you look at it, here's what you also have to look at, the stories themselves are telling us what God thinks and how he's shaping humanity in this story about Jesus. And so as one pastor said, you know, the first time he read Genesis, he didn't like it because you look at how these heroes of the faith are treating women. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, they were polygamist, they had more than one wife, they'd buy and sell them, they lived like the culture of the day. It wasn't until later, though, he read The Art of Biblical Narrative by Robert Alter. Alter was a Jew who taught at Berkeley, and Alter said, you need to realize what the story is telling you; it's showing how God is changing the culture of the day. The two prime parts of the culture of the day were polygamy and primogeniture, which meant that the oldest son got all the power, all the money. And as Alter pointed out, if you read through it, it points out that every time the Patriarchs participated in polygamy, it always went horrible, it wrecked the family. See, God's showing in the story, no, this isn't how it's supposed to be, and so let me show you how this part of culture doesn't work. You know, it's even more fascinating, the primogeniture, where the oldest son always got the inheritance, got the power in that, God in the story, keeps choosing the younger son, keeps upsetting the way the culture would do it.

Tim Lundy: [00:46:11] And so I say this, because I'll hear people at times, they go, well, the Bible has horrible parts. And I go, yeah, because God's showing what was going on in the culture of that time and how he's redeeming it, what is he trying to teach us through the story? Now people go, yeah, but people have used the Bible to do horrible things. I mean, look at the Crusades, look at slavery. People have actually used the Bible to defend slavery in this country, Christians have in the past. And hear me, I have no defense of it, if anything, they have missed the teaching of scripture. One, they've pulled it out of context, because the slavery that's even described in the Bible is not the chattel slavery that was practiced in this country where people were owned, and where they were owned based on their race, and they were discriminated on based on race, that didn't even match the slavery as it was practiced in the Bible. Much less, if you look, remember, I told you how the story of the Bible is showing how God's redeeming within the culture. If you look at what God did with slavery and the freedom that came, and the freedom that came through Christ, it's the reason that Christians led the forefront to abolish chattel slavery as it's known in this world. And so somebody doing that doesn't mean that the Bible was wrong, it was a wrong application.

Tim Lundy: [00:47:34] I'd put it in this way, I heard one scholar said, you know, you can look at the Beatles, and I love the Beatles, I mean, I love the Beatles, and I know even as I say, that that kind of outs me as an old man. In fact, a moment ago, if you thought as soon as I said, I love the Beatles, if you thought to yourself, oh, that's cool, you're old, too, OK? Old people, we like The Beatles, and the White Album, great album. Now, the song Helter Skelter, Charles Manson, of the Manson clan, they said that song was inspirational, they said it speaking to them was part of the reason why they slaughtered what they did and the activity they did. Now, would you blame The Beatles for that? Would you go, oh, well, that was McCartney and Lennon, that's their fault in it? Or would you look at it and go, yeah, no, that person totally misapplied that, it's totally antithetical to everything the Beatles would be for, but they did it in the wrong way.

Tim Lundy: [00:48:41] Guys, there's a lot of people that have taken the Bible and they've twisted what God said, they've used it in the wrong way, but that doesn't mean you can put that back at his feet. You've got to look at his story, his character, what he's done. Again, we're just dipping into the surface on all these questions, there's so much more.

Tim Lundy: [00:49:04] I just would finish out, though, with this, and this is specifically for those who, when you look at this, is the Bible really that important to my faith? And I would just say this, this is young people growing up in the church today who even though they claim Christianity, really aren't in the Bible. If you look at scripture, and a couple of verses I'd end out with here, "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." The writer of Hebrews said, man, God's word, the Bible, it's not like any other book, it literally goes to the soul of you, the spirit of you, it literally cuts through everything else. And I would encourage you, if you're not spending time in God's word, if you're not letting it penetrate your heart and your life, if you're not letting that God-breathed book do what it can only do, you're not going to have direction in life, but you're also not going to know you. I think there's so much confusion today about who we are and our identity, there's so much confusion in life because people are not taking advantage of this Living Word that's active in our life. So you're not going to know you, and if I go back to Psalm 1, you're not going to experience the kind of resilience that David describes here. You're just not going to have a resilient faith, because you've not planted your life, you've not held firm to what really matters.

Tim Lundy: [00:50:58] As we close out, I'm just reminded of an old story about Emmitt Smith. I'm a Dallas Cowboys fan, I know that's hard for you, Niner fans out there. But Emmitt Smith has the rushing record, he ran for more yards than anybody else in NFL history. I'm not making the claim that he's the greatest running back of all time, but he ran for more yards. Do you know when he was a junior in high school, he had a problem, he kept fumbling the ball? And his coach finally grabbed him and said to him, I don't care how great you are as a running back, if you don't hold onto the ball, you're not going to make it, in fact, you're not going to be on this team. Smith said he always remembered that conversation, that from then on, if he did anything else, he would hold on to the football as he was doing those great things for his team. And I just say all that, because I want to look you in the eye, especially some of you who are kind of maybe trying to do the Christian life, some of you who maybe you've embraced the faith, but it's not going very deep, some of you kind of flirting on the edges. Listen to me, you're never going to be who God's called you to be, you're never going to have resilient faith, if you don't hold fast to the Bible, if you don't make this where you root your life. And maybe you still have questions around it, I know we just covered, barely cursory, some of these, keep asking them, there are answers. Keep searching, there are resources, I put some books and some resources that you can look at at the end of your notes there, read some of those if you really have serious questions. And for those of you that would say, well, I don't really question the Bible, then hold on to the Bible, and root in the Bible, and see what God can do, that your life can flourish in the soil of his word.

Tim Lundy: [00:53:09] Let's pray together. Father, I thank you, I thank you for your truth, I thank you for Scripture, I thank you for all that you've done. I thank you that you loved us so much that Christ came as the Living Word, God, and man, in the flesh. Thank you so much that you sent us the Bible, over that 1500 years, as the written word, where the Spirit, God, and humanity provided us this text that is inspired and without error. Lord, we thank you for the truth that we can root our lives on, we pray that we would hold it with conviction and that we would be men and women of resilient faith. And we pray this in Christ's name. Amen.

Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032