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Thursday, June 22, 2006

How can an intelligent person believe the Bible?

I got an e-mail from someone who asked me, in all honesty, I think, the question of the title, in nearly those words. I am flattered, because he was referring to me. Here's part of my answer, almost verbatim:

The short answer is that it seems to me that there are only two possibilities:
1) The universe, and us, are here as a result of purposeless chance
2) The universe was planned, at least in some aspects, and is not here totally as a result of chance. (I'm not proposing "Intelligent Design" here, at least not in the way it's most often presented.) If it was, then there must have been a Planner.

I don't see how any scientific experiment can distinguish between these alternatives. Which one is chosen depends on various things, such as how one was brought up, including how the two alternatives were presented. If, for example, one was told that no one but ignorant yahoos believe that God created the universe, or that everyone who believes this also believes that the earth is no more than, say, 10,000 years old, then he or she might reasonably be expected not to believe the claims of those who believe that the universe is here because of a plan.

I find that there are symptoms of a world that should be better than it is, generally, and personally. This implies that the world has been spoiled, and my own life has (mostly by my own errors). This indicates that there must be some remedy for these problems, and I find such a remedy in what the Bible tells me that Jesus Christ, God's Son, has done. I cannot prove this to anyone beyond all doubt, but I believe this. As a result, I take the rest of what the Bible says seriously.

I don't claim to understand all that the Bible says. I believe that it was not written as a textbook of science, and had to be written in language that people of the time could understand, so couldn't have, for example, said much, or anything, about the heliocentric theory of the solar system, or relativity. Nonetheless, the Bible, like the findings of science, is one way God reveals Himself to humans, and, if we understood the Bible perfectly, and understood the findings of science perfectly, the two would not conflict, in my opinion. Believing this, I take it seriously.

If you are interested, I refer you to an article by Probe Ministries for more on the authenticity of the Bible.

Thanks for reading!

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