Hover over Romans 1:20-22 for proof of God's existence, and over Matthew 5:27-28 for Judgment Day’s perfect standard. Then hover over John 3:16-18 for what God did, and over Acts 17:30-31 for what to do.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Believing the Fossil Record

8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. 12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

Do you believe this account of angels actually speaking to shepherds, with the glory of God manifesting itself? Some do, some don’t. Someone who didn't believe the biblical account wrote to me and said, "'The fact that Mary and Joseph her husband were forced to return to the place of their birth, is a part of history.' Incorrect. Please provide evidence other than the Bible."

What evidence would convince him that Mary and Joseph were forced to return to their place of birth? Would an account of their return from the pen of a contemporary Roman scribe be convincing? Or perhaps two or three historical accounts from independent sources other than the New Testament? Perhaps. But there is a factor that skeptics never bring into play. Whatever "evidence" given still has to be received by faith. Let me explain.

Back in 1961, a team of archaeologists in Israel uncovered a large limestone slab. On the slab were the clearly written the words: "The Tiberieum of the Caesareans Pontius Pilate Praefect of Judea has given." I have seen this slab and read the words when I was in Caesarea in 1999 while visiting a large amphitheater that was built by Herod the Great (73 – 4 B.C.).

This historical evidence isn’t from the Bible. It's an independent secular source. Is this therefore credible verification that Pilate existed? If you say that it is, I ask why? Why is this evidence? It doesn’t prove anything. It’s just an old rock with words carved into it. How do we know it’s true? If we test the slab to see if it’s at least 2,000 years old, what does that prove? It’s just an old rock, and how do we know that dating system is trustworthy?

So, do you believe the rock is authentic? Do you believe that dating systems are trustworthy? If you do, then you have your "evidence," but you still don’t know. You simply believe. That’s the case with everything in history. It’s the case with evolution, the age of the earth, the bones found by paleontologists in the fossil record, etc.

So where does that leave Mary and Joseph? Did they exist? Did they return to their birthplace? The historical record of the Bible says so. The skeptic, for some reason, doesn’t believe it. But I believe that their journey was part of history, and I believe it with much more conviction than I believe that Shakespeare existed, or that Napoleon was the Emperor of France. Why? Because I wasn’t converted by the Bible. I was converted by the power of God way back in 1972, and from that moment the Bible proved itself to be a supernatural book. It came alive (see Hebrews 4:12). This happened because the same God who caused light to shine in the beginning of time, opened my blind eyes (see 2 Corinthians 4:6), and He can do the same for you, if you are seeking the truth.