Is the Bible Fact or Fantasy

Bible Book: Selected Passages 
Subject: Bible; Word, God's

We are living in a time of paradox in America. On one hand, there is the growing opinion that objective truth does not exist. But on the other hand, we are hungering for truth as never before. While many reject the concept of objective truth, they explore a web of avenues in order to find the truth that will work for them. Every year the hottest selling tabloid newspapers that infest the check-out lanes of grocery stores are the year-end editions which contain all of the prophesies by self-proclaimed psychics for the upcoming year. The prophecies range from the goofy to the bizarre to the absurd.

Pope John Paul II was to have recorded a hit record with ex-Beatle Paul McCartney. Hillary Clinton, President Clinton's wife, was to have had a baby. James Kennedy, pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, once said that he had saved these prophesies for one year and then looked back to see how many of them came true. None of them did. Not one!

Nevertheless, "inquiring minds" scoop them up like gold nuggets and pore over them as though they were gospel. Some try crystal balls; others, reincarnation; others, channeling (getting in touch with spirits of people who have died) to try to find truth to live by. Probably the most popular means is astrology. The horoscope appears in nearly every major newspaper in the country. You can buy your horoscope at almost any grocery store checkout counter. If you are wealthy enough, you can call psychic hot lines, and astrologers advertised on television that promise you all you need to know for success in business and love. And people seem to be flocking to these astrologers and these psychics like sea gulls to a shrimp boat. And in the face of all this, the Bible has been under severe attack.

In this century, the Bible was supposed to have been dismantled by the theory of evolution, destroyed by Marxism, and disproved by scientific knowledge. However, just the opposite is true. Evolution is a theory in chaos. Marxism has collapsed under its own weight. And science is only confirming Christian truths rather than disproving them. The Bible has outlived every critic and stands today stronger than ever before. "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever" (Isaiah 40:8). "For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven" (Psalm 119:89). "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Matthew 24:35). Jesus said, "He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24). Jesus said, "Search the scriptures;  for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me" (John 5:39). Peter said, "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (II Peter 1:21). Paul wrote to Timothy and said, "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (II Timothy 3:15-17). Long, long years ago Moses said to the people of Israel, "And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thou fathers know; that he might make thee know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live" (Deuteronomy 8:3). I want you to know that I believe that the Bible is God's word. Now, you notice what I said. I didn't say it contains the word of God. I believe it is the word of God. Now, if the Bible just contains the word of God, then how do we know which part of the Bible is the word of God, and which part is not? How do we know what to believe, or how do we know if we ought to believe it at all? Is it the word of God, only if it speaks to my heart? Or is it the word of God, period. This is the word of God. It does not contain an error. It is not idealized mythology. It is not a book that contradicts itself. It is infallible. It is in perfect harmony with itself. It is authoritative. It is not fiction. It is not fantasy. It is factual. It is not a myth. It is a miracle. To illustrate that the Bible is not a myth, but a miracle; to illustrate that it is not fiction or fantasy, but factual, I want to call your attention to six things.

I. The Bible is Timeless

Washington, DC is the home of the Bureau of Standards. Every weight and every measure that is used in the United States is a copy of the standard that is kept inviolate by the Bureau in Washington. In that Bureau there is a perfect inch, a perfect foot, a perfect yard, a perfect gallon, a perfect pint, a perfect millimeter, a perfect milligram. Every weight and measure that we have finds its standard in that Bureau in Washington, and all are judged by that standard. They follow the rule held inviolate in Washington. In the Naval Observatory in Washington there is a chronometer that is corrected by astronomical observations every day at twelve o'clock noon. Time in America is kept correct by checking with those astronomical observations every day at high noon. Then, that time is communicated to all of the clocks and time pieces in the United States. The time on the dials of the clocks all over America is a repercussion, a copy, of the paragon of excellence and perfection in that Naval Observatory in Washington, DC.

The psalmist says that this Word that we hold in our hands is but a copy of that perfect, and fixed,   and unchanging, and timeless word of God in heaven. It was there in the beginning, and it shall be there world without end. And yet, it is as current as the headlines in tomorrow's newspaper. Books on biology, chemistry, history, astronomy, physics, and science are quickly outdated. Even books on church administration and ecclesiastical methodology become antiquated with the passing of years. But the Bible is always marvelously up-to-date. It is a timeless book. And this in itself speaks of its factual and miracle qualities.

II. The Bible is Scientifically Accurate

Aldous Huxley said, "Modern science makes it impossible to believe in a personal God." But I say there is not one proven fact of science that does not agree with the Bible. If God is God, then He knows as much about science as He does about the spiritual. And if God is the author of this book, it is inspired and inerrant and just as right scientifically as it is spiritually. God can only speak truth.

There is nothing that He does not know. He is omniscient.

Consider the field of astronomy. The Bible is astronomically correct. Before the telescope was invented in the seventeenth century, Tycho Brahe said there were 777 stars. Hippartus said there were 1022. But Ptolmey said, "You missed it. The number is 1056." Then Kepler said, "You're both wrong, fellows, there are exactly 1055." But long ago Jeremiah testified, "The host of heaven cannot be numbered" (Jeremiah 33:22). It is now known that there are well over 100 billion stars in our galaxy alone, with probably billions of other galaxies like our own. Most astronomers now agree that it is not humanly possible to count all the stars.

Even as late as when Columbus sailed the ocean in 1492, most people thought the earth was flat. But 2200 years before Columbus sailed the ocean blue, the Bible declared that the earth is round. In Isaiah 40:22 we read: "It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth."

Another example of the Bible being scientific and astronomically correct came to surface in 1970 as a result of research at the space laboratory in Greenbelt, Maryland. At this laboratory space scientists were checking the position of the sun, moon, and planets out in space; where they would be 100 years from now, and 1000 years from now. The course of these heavenly bodies had to be determined in order to avoid placing a satellite on a course that might eventually result in a collision with another object in its orbit. Necessary information was fed into the computer, and the measurement was run back and forth over the centuries. The mechanical genius purred smoothly for a time. Suddenly it stopped and the red light flashed. This was an indication that something was wrong. The information was rechecked. The machine was rechecked. The head of operations asked, "What's wrong?" The reply was, "We have found there is a day missing in space in elapsed time."  For a brief time our space program was bogged down. There was no answer. One of the men on the team spoke up, "You know, one time I was in Sunday School and they talked about the sun standing still." He got his Bible and turned to the book of Joshua and located the passage where the Lord said to Joshua, "Fear them not: I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee" (Joshua 10:8). Joshua was concerned about the coming of the night because he and his men were surrounded by the enemy. If darkness fell, they would be slaughtered by the enemy. So Joshua asked the Lord to make the sun stand still. According to Joshua 10:13, "the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day." To see if this could be their missing day, the space scientists checked for the position of the sun in Joshua's day. They discovered that their revised computations were close, but not close enough. Elapsed time missing in Joshua's day was 23 hours and 20 minutes. They checked the Bible again and noted that it read "about a whole day," that is "approximately a day." Those few words in the Bible became extremely important to our space scientists. But they had to account somehow for the missing 40 minutes. The scientist who had recalled the biblical account of the sun standing still remembered some mention in the Bible about the sun moving backward. America's scientists turned to the Bible again. In II Kings they found the story of Isaiah's visit to Hezekiah who was on his deathbed. Isaiah told the king that he would not die, but Hezekiah was hard to convince and wanted a sign from God as proof. Isaiah asked, "Do you want the sun to move forward ten degrees?" Hezekiah answered, "It is nothing for the sun to go ahead ten degrees, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees." The space scientist read the words in II Kings 20:11, "And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the Lord: and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz." The scientists determined that ten degrees equals 40 minutes. A day out of the ages past, lost and rediscovered! 23 hours and 20 minutes in Joshua, plus 40 minutes in II Kings. "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever" (Isaiah 40:8).

Now, let me give you some additional interesting scientific information. In Job 26:7 the Bible says, "God stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing." Did you know that human beings for thousands of generations, before and after Job wrote these scientific words, believed that the earth was sustained by some kind of solid foundation? Everyone did; every civilization did; every culture did; every nation did. The Egyptians said that the world is sustained by five great pillars; one at each corner and one in the middle. The Greeks were taught to believe that this world is held up by an immense giant by the name of Atlas, upon whose great shoulders and back the world rested. The Hindu scientist and theologian believe that this earth is sustained on the back of a gigantic elephant, and that the elephant stands on the back of an enormous sea turtle, and that the sea turtle swims in a cosmic ocean. But Job wrote, "God hangeth the earth on nothing."

Let's look at another example. In Hebrews 11:3 the Bible says, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." Let me paraphrase that. "So that the things that are visible are made out of entities that are invisible." Did you ever hear a finer statement of the molecular atomic nature of this universe than that? "The things that are visible, the things that we see, are made out of things, entities, that are invisible; made out of things you can't see." There are so many fascinating things like this, but let me give you one other.

In 1628 William Harvey discovered that the circulatory system is the key to life. Only then was it understood that circulation of the blood is critical in keeping a person alive. Before that, whenever someone was sick, the doctor removed blood through a bleeding process. But now doctors give blood to the sick. This agrees with the book of Leviticus where we read, "The life of the flesh is in the blood" (Leviticus 17:11). I just want you to know that the Bible is scientifically accurate. It provides validation for its authenticity and accuracy and factuality.

III. The Bible is Prophetically Accurate

I have a book in my library entitled The Evidences of God in an Expanding Universe. It is the testimony of forty scientists as to why they believe in God. In this book is the testimony of a medical doctor. He said he came to believe in the Bible as the word of God, and to believe in the God of the Bible because he read the Old Testament prophesies and found where they were fulfilled in minute detail. He said, "It just couldn't be that over hundreds of years, and thousands of years, these prophecies should be given and then be fulfilled in minute detail unless God is behind it." Now, there are hundreds of fulfilled prophesies in the Bible. But let me just share some of those prophesies concerning the coming of the Messiah. Now, these are prophecies that were given hundreds of years before Christ ever came into this world.

1. Genesis 3:15 says that He is to be born of a woman.
2. Isaiah 7:14 and Micah 5:3 tell us that He is to be virgin- born.
3. Genesis 9:18 says He is to be a descendent of Shem.
4. Other passages tell us that He is to be a descendent of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and of the tribe of Judah, and of the house of David.
5. Micah 5:2 tells us that He is to be born in Bethlehem.
6. Isaiah 62:11 describes His triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
7. Psalm 41:9 describes His portrayal by a friend and disciple, even at the cost of 30 pieces of silver.
8. Genesis 3, Psalm 22, Isaiah 53 and Zechariah 13 describe His sufferings and death on the cross for our sins.
9. Psalm 22 and Zechariah describe the piercing of His hands and feet.
10. Psalm 22 describes the lots cast for His robe.
11. Psalm 16 and Jonah 1 portray His resurrection on the third day.
12. Psalm 8 and Psalm 110 describe His ascension into heaven.

Some years ago Josh McDowell wrote a book entitled The Evidence That Demands a Verdict. And in this book, he says the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled just eight of the major prophesies that Jesus fulfilled are one in ten to the 17th power. Ten to the 17th power is one with 17 zeroes behind it. In order to help us comprehend these staggering odds, suppose we take this many silver dollars (10 to the 17th power) and lay them on the face of Texas.

Now, as you know, Texas is a big state. If you could flip Texas west using El Paso as a hinge, Houston would land in the Pacific Ocean. If you could flip Texas east using Houston as a hinge, El Paso would land in the Atlantic Ocean. If you could flip Texas north using the top of the panhandle as a hinge, the lowest part of Texas would land just short of the Canadian border. Texas is a big state. This many silver dollars (10 to the 17th power) would cover the entire state two feet deep in coins.

Now, imagine that one of those silver dollars was painted red. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel anywhere in the state he wants to pick up that one silver dollar. Keep in mind that traveling at seventy miles per hour, he could not drive across Texas in a day. His chances of getting the marked silver dollar are approximately the same as a person fulfilling eight major prophesies of the Messiah by chance. Then consider that Jesus fulfilled 48 prophecies. The odds that any one man fulfills all 48 by chance are one to the 157th power. There is no practical way even to illustrate that number.

When you look at the fulfilled prophesies in the life of Christ, the Bible becomes a very convincing book, and Jesus becomes a very convincing Messiah. Now, as the prophesies of the past have come to pass, so will those of the future. Just as the prophesies of Christ's coming the first time have been fulfilled, so will the prophesies of Christ's second coming be fulfilled. And as God has judged people and cities and nations for rejecting Him in the past, so will He judge those who reject Him in the future. It is a warning for the unsaved to get right with God, and for those who are believers to get down to business in serving Him; to bow to the lordship of Jesus Christ.

IV. The Bible is Indestructible

It has withstood the attacks of the cynics, the skeptics, the agnostics and the atheists down through the years. They are gone, and the word of God still stands. "For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven." Throughout history Satan has used many means and men to attack the Bible. Diocletian, the Roman emperor, mounted the most concerted attack ever against the Bible. He killed so many Christians and burned so many manuscripts that he finally erected a column and called it Extincto Nomine Cristianorum, which means, "The name of Christians has been extinguished." He was mistaken. Soon the Roman Empire adopted Christianity as its official religion. What we have here (the Bible) is indestructible. Pseudo- science has tried to laugh the Bible out of existence. A century ago Voltaire, the famous French writer and atheist, declared, "Fifty years from now the world will hear no more of the Bible." But in that very year, while a first edition of Voltaire's book was selling for eight cents a copy, the British museum was paying the Russian government more than $500,000 for one New Testament Greek manuscript copy. And fifty years after his death, the Geneva Bible Society used Voltaire's house and press to print Bibles. Thomas Payne wrote The Age of Reason 200 years ago, and in it he attacked Christianity. He felt his arguments would forever destroy the Bible. He predicted that in a few years the Bible would be out of print. He boasted, "When I get through there will not be five Bibles left in America." He turned out to be a little off in his count. What became of his boast? I'll tell you.

The Age of Reason is read more as a curiosity, while the Bible is read as a fountain of life unto salvation. God's Word has been an anvil for 1900 years. And when other hammers today try to break God's eternal anvil of truth, we but remember the inscription on the monument to the Huguenots in Paris, France: "Hammer away ye hostile lands. Your hammers break; God's anvil stands." Generation follows generation - yet it lives. Yet it lives - as a standard for childhood. Yet it lives - as a guide for youth. Yet it lives - as an inspiration for the matured. Yet it lives - as a comfort for the aged. Nations rise and fall; yet it lives. Kings, dictators, presidents come and go - yet it lives. Hated, despised, cursed - yet it lives. Doubted, suspected, and criticized, yet it lives. Condemned by atheists - yet it lives. Scoffed at by scorners - yet it lives. Exaggerated by fanatics - yet it lives. Ranted and raved about - yet it lives. Misconstrued and misstated - yet it lives. Its inspiration denied - yet it lives. It lives - as a lamp unto our feet. It lives - as a light unto our path. It lives - as food for the hungry. It lives - as water for the thirsty. It lives - as rest for the weary. It lives - as light for the heathen. It is indestructible. God's word will stand forever.

V. The Bible is Validated By Archeology

Many of the attacks on the accuracy of the Bible were begun prior to modern archeology. However, beginning with major excavations in the Holy Land in the mid-1800s, archeological evidence has confirmed the Bible's historical accuracy time and time again. For example, Belshazzar, named in the book of Daniel as the last king of Babylon, was nowhere to be found in Babylonian records. All known Babylonian records listed Nabondius as the last king. Then archeological records revealed that Nabondius left Babylon and went to Arabia. In his absence, his son Belshazzar ruled as king in his place during the time of Daniel. In this way archeology explained the previous discrepancy between the biblical record and the previous Babylonian record. But every archeological discovery, which has been made, has simply amplified the truth of the word of God and under girded it.

In 1947 the Dead Sea scrolls were unearthed in a place called Qumran. The scrolls included a complete copy of Isaiah and Habakkuk, plus many more biblical fragments and manuscripts. Those manuscripts were 1000 years older than anything that we have today. But they were almost identical in every respect to the Masoretic text that is used in the publication of the Old Testament texts. Even more recent discoveries have added confirmation to the authenticity of Holy Scriptures. Not one single archeological discovery has invalidated the Bible, and that's amazing.

VI. The Bible is Powerful

Leonard Ravenhill, in his marvelous book While Revival Tarries, says, "One of these days we're going to be embarrassed because a fellow is going to come along who just believes the Bible. We're going to be embarrassed because we thought through the years the Bible is a book to be defended; whereas, first of all, it is a book to be believed. And in the second place, to be obeyed. If you will believe it and obey it, you will begin to see the mighty power contained in the Word of God itself." The poet said:

"Think it carefully,

Study it prayerfully,

Deep in thy heart let its oracles dwell.

Ponder its mystery,

Slight not its history,

None ever loved it too fondly or well."

But you see, most of all, the Bible is powerful because its message can transform the lives of individuals.

Step with me into a modest home. The carpet is smelly. Beer cans are scattered around. The family is holding together by a thread. We're looking into the face of a man whose eternal destiny is on the line. He is an alcoholic. His son is on drugs. His daughter is pregnant. This family has tried AA. They have tried drug rehab. They have tried Planned Parenthood. They have tried social services. They have been through therapy. They have been through evaluations. They have been through treatments. But nothing has worked. "Sir, let me share with you some verses from Romans. The book of Romans says 'all have sinned and come short of the glory of God' (Romans 3:23). "But      although God is not pleased with us as we are, He loves us and wants to help us. The Bible says in Romans 5:8, 'But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.'" And you can begin to see the Holy Spirit at work. Not only are they listening, but God's message is penetrating their hearts. And so I say, "Unfortunately, our sin carries the penalty of death, both physical and eternal. The Bible says, 'For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord' (Romans 6:23). God is willing to forgive us by accepting Jesus as our substitute. His death on the cross paid the penalty of our sin. His resurrection from the dead provides our eternal life. "Jesus said, 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest'" (Matthew 11:28). And you can begin to see the hunger and the longing and the interest. And then I say, "You can trust God's promise. The Bible says, 'Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved'" (Romans 10:13). And then with that little family, beaten, broken, devastated by sin, we kneel down around their coffee table and they pray and invite Jesus Christ to come into their hearts and lives. And a mighty transformation takes place. Because the Bible says, "if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; and behold, all things are become new."


Years ago, in the days of the old camp meetings, a preacher set out after the evening service to find his way along the edge of a dangerous cliff to the cottage where he was to spend the night. He had no lantern. Flashlights were then unknown. An old farmer, sensing the preacher's predicament, lighted a bundle of pine branches, handed them to the preacher, saying, "Take this. It will light your way home." The preacher said, "But what if the wind blows it out?" The farmer said, "It will see you home." "But what if the rain extinguishes it?" The farmer replied, "It will see you home." "But what if it burns out before I get there?" The farmer said, "It will see you home."

Do you see this Book? It is a lamp unto your feet and a light to your path. There will be times when the winds of unbelief may seem to almost put out its glow. Storms of skepticism may threaten to engulf it. There may even be times when you're tempted to lay it aside and make your way unaided. At times it may look old fashioned alongside the psychedelic flashlights of this day. But it's not a myth, it's a miracle. It's not a fantasy, it's factual. It will see you home.