Proof that the Bible is God's Word - Part 4 -
Written By: R.A Torrey | Posted: Tuesday, May 11th, 2010
My fourth reason for believing the Bible to be the Word of God is, Because of the IMMEASURABLE SUPERIORITY of Its Teachings to Those of Any Other Book or of All Other Books Put Together. It was quite the fashion when I was studying in the University to compare the teachings of the Bible with those of the ethnic philosophers and sages, with the teachings, for example, of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Isocrates, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Seneca, Buddha, Zoroaster, Confucius, Mencius, and Mohammad, and it is getting to be the fashion again. Fashions in thought are recurrent just as are fashions in women's dresses. Anyone who institutes such a comparison and puts the Bible in the same category with these ethnic philosophers and sages must be either ignorant of the teachings of the Bible, or else ignorant of the teachings of the ethnic philosophers and sages, or, what is more frequently the case, densely ignorant of both. There are three points of radical difference between the teachings of the Bible and those of any other and all other books.
First, the teachings of these ethnic philosophers and sages contain truth, it is true, sometimes precious truth; but it is truth mixed with error; whereas the Bible contains nothing but truth. There are gems of thought in these ethnic philosophers and sages, but as Joseph Cook pointed out nearly half a century ago, they are "jewels picked out of the mud."
"Did not Socrates teach in a way worthy of our attention how a philosopher ought to die?" we are oftentimes asked. He did, but those who put Socrates in the same category with the Bible forgot to tell us that Socrates also taught a woman of the town how to conduct her business, and that was not quite so pretty.
"Did not Marcus Aurelius Antoninus teach in a way that is worthy of our thought today the excellencies of clemency and moderation?" these men ask. He did, but they forget to tell us that this same Marcus Aurelius Antoninus also taught that it was right to put men and women to death for no other crime than that of being Christians, and being himself Emperor of Rome, and having the power to do it, he practiced what he preached, one of the most awful persecutions, that in which the holy Polycarp died, being under the especial patronage of this same Marcus Aurelius Antoninus.
"Did not Seneca teach in a thoughtful and suggestive way the excellencies of poverty?" these men ask us. He did, but they forget to tell us that at the very time Seneca was writing so beautifully about the excellencies of poverty he himself was one of the most notorious spendthrifts in Rome, the single item of onyx tables in his Roman mansion costing a fabulous fortune; and furthermore, Seneca was the tutor of the most infamous Emperor in Roman history, Nero, under whom Nero was trained for his awful work.
"Did not Confucius teach the duty of children to parents in a way that is worthy of our attention today?" these men ask. He did, but they forget to tell us that Confucius also taught that it was right to tell lies, and unblushingly tells us in a fragment of his own life which he has left us how he himself told lies on occasion. And there is nothing in which his most devoted disciples, the modern Chinese, have proven themselves such adept pupils of their great master as in this single matter of lying; for the Chinese are the one nation of the earth that has reduced lying to a fine art. The typical Confucianist Chinaman will tell anything to "save his face."
The second point of radical difference between the teachings of the Bible and all other books is, that the Bible contains all the truth, while those other books contain only fragments of the truth. There is not one single known truth on moral or spiritual subjects that cannot be found for substance between the covers of the Bible. Oftentimes in speaking to audiences largely composed of secularists and infidels, I have challenged anyone to produce one single truth on moral or spiritual subjects which I could not find for substance somewhere between the covers of the Bible. Of course it is quite possible that somebody should be able to do that, for I do not pretend to know everything that is in the Bible. I have been studying it closely for only forty-seven years and do not pretend to know all there is in it, but no one has ever been able to do it yet, and if you think you can, you might try your hand on it at the close of this address. The Bible is a very old Book, the last part of it was written over eighteen hundred years ago, and yet in all the thinking that men have done in the many long centuries since they have not been able to strike out one single truth, on moral or spiritual subjects, that cannot be found in substance between the covers of this old, old Book. Is not that a remarkable fact? Is it not a very suggestive fact? Does it not point unmistakably to God as the author of the Book? Let me put it this way: If all the other books in the world were destroyed, and the Bible left, we would not lose one single known truth on moral or spiritual subjects.
The third point of radical difference between the Bible and all other books is, that the Bible contains more truth than all other books put together. You can go to the literature of all ages and of all nations, the literature of ancient Greece, ancient Rome, ancient Persia, ancient China, ancient India, and to all modern literature as well, and pull out of it all that is good, set aside all that is bad or comparatively worthless, and put the results of your labour together into one book, and even then you will not have a book that will take the place of this one Book. In other words, man in all his thinking through all the centuries of human history has not been able to produce as much truth as is found in this one Book. As I have already said, if you should destroy every other book in the world and have the Bible left, you would not lose any known truth on moral or spiritual subjects: On the other hand, if you should destroy the Bible and have all other books left, the loss would be irreparable. It is clear as day, then, that the Bible stands absolutely in a class by itself, and that while other books are men's books, this Book is God's Book. No really intelligent and candid mind can come to any other conclusion in the light of these indisputable facts. I appeal to you, isn't that so?
My fifth reason for believing the Bible to be the Word of God is, Because of the History of the Book, Its OMNIPOTENCE Against All of Men's Attacks. It is as plain as day that what man has produced, man can destroy. Why then, if man produced the Bible, have eighteen centuries of assault upon the Bible been unable to destroy the Bible? Scarcely was the Bible given to the world when men discovered three things about the Bible. They discovered that the Bible condemned sin. They discovered that the Bible demanded renunciation of self. They discovered that the Bible laid human pride in the dust. Men were not willing to give up sin, they were not willing to renounce self, and above all they were not willing to have their pride laid in the dust; therefore, they hated the book that made these demands. Men's hatred of the Bible was most intense, most persistent, most practical, most active, most energetic and most relentless. They determined to destroy the Book they hated. Fronto, the most accomplished rhetorician of his day, the man whom the great Emperor Antoninus Pius chose to be the tutor of his still greater son, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, brought all the powers of his matchless rhetoric to bear against the Bible, with the intention of discrediting and destroying the Bible, but he failed. Then Celsus tried it with the brilliancy of his genius, and he failed. Then Porphyry, beyond a question the leading neo-Platonic philosopher of his day, tried it, with all the depth of his philosophy; but he failed. Lucian tried it, with the keenness of his satire, but he failed. Then Diocletian came upon the scene of action and brought to bear against the Bible other weapons. He summoned all the military and political forces of the mightiest empire the world ever saw, Rome at the zenith of its glory, to discredit and destroy the Bible, but he failed. He issued edicts that every Bible in the Roman Empire should be destroyed and that failed. Then he issued sterner edicts, that everyone who had a Bible in his possession should be put to death, and that failed. And for eighteen long centuries the assaults upon the Bible have gone on. Every engine of destruction that human reasoning, human science, human philosophy, human wit, human satire, human cunning, human force, and human brutality, could bring to bear against a book has been brought to bear against this Book. With what result? That the Bible has a stronger hold upon the confidence and affections of the wisest and best men and women in the world than it ever had before. There have been times when all the great men of earth were against the Bible and only an obscure and despised remnant for it, and yet the Bible still stands. If the Bible had been man's book it would have gone down and been forgotten centuries ago, but because there was in this Book "the hiding" of not only God's wisdom, but also "of God's power, " it has wonderfully fulfilled in other than their original significance those stupendous words of the Lord Jesus Christ, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Matt. 24:35).
Of course there have been times when, in the midst of the smoke of battle and din of conflict, it has seemed to some weak-hearted men and women as if the Bible must have gone down; but in every instance, when the smoke has rolled up from the field of battle, this citadel of God's eternal, impregnable and imperishable truth has been seen to rear its lofty head towards heaven without one single stone dislodged from lowest foundation to highest parapet, and each new attack upon the Bible has simply served to prove anew the absolute and divine impregnability of this indestructible rock of God's eternal Word.
I, for one, am glad every time a new attack is made upon the Bible. That may sound like a strange thing for a minister of the Word to say; but what I mean is this, I tremble, of course, for certain weak-hearted and weak-headed men and women who are willing to swallow anything which they are told with sufficient confidence is the "assured result of the latest scholarship"--but for the Bible I have no fears. A book that has successfully withstood eighteen centuries of assault by the devil's heaviest artillery is not going down before the air-guns (oftentimes hot air at that) of "modern Biblical criticism." This demonstrated indestructibility of the Bible is proof positive of its Divine Origin.