By J. E. F.
There is no subject more basic than that of inspiration. The literal and root meaning of inspiration is "breathe into," and the practical import is that God put His message in men and moved them to say exactly what He wanted said. The Bible lays claim to being that kind of an inspired word - men did the speaking or writing but they did not speak from their own wisdom; they spoke according as God directed them. If the Bible is in truth and fact the inspired word of God, then it certainly must be the only safe and reliable standard for our faith and practice. The value and authority of the Scriptures are thus directly dependent upon whether or not they are inspired, i.e., "breathed of God."
This is the argument and claim of 2 Peter 1:20, 21: "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 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 Spirit.” “Private interpretation” does not refer to an individual hearer's understanding, for Peter is discussing its origin, not its reception. “Private interpretation,” therefore, has to do with the speaker, not the hearer, and is tantamount to saying that the prophets did not speak their own personal understandings.
They rather spake as the Holy Spirit "moved them." In fact, the prophets did not always personally understand the message (1 Peter 1:10-12) and would have been rather hard put to tell what they did not know or to explain what they did not understand. But [being "moved by the spirit"] they did not need to rely on their personal opinions and interpretations. The book of Jeremiah, for example, is not the personal view and private interpretation of the prophet, but rather it is the "word of the Lord" (Jer. 1:4) expressed according as the Spirit moved the prophet.
This means that inspired words are not words of human wisdom, or choice. Listen to I Corinthians 2:10-13: "But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit.... Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth [not of man's choosing], but which the Holy Spirit teacheth...." This is verbal inspiration! The Bible is God’s word to the word, for its writers did not speak of themselves. They neither gave their own opinions, nor did they even pick out their own words to express the gospel message; inspired men were “moved by the Spirit” and spoke the words which the Spirit supplied. This is purely a case of an infallible and divine word being “once for all” delivered through human instrumentality, but God did not allow the human agency to alter the setting forth of His law by adding “private interpretations” or by making a faulty choice of words.
God is the author of the Bible. Men only penned it. As such it is in truth the "word of God." And therefore it is a perfect guide for life and the standard by which we will all be judged. &
The Origin of True Religion
By Bob Myhan
Those who do not accept the divine origin of the Bible, especially those who do not believe God has revealed His will in any written form [whether the Bible, the Koran or the Book of Mormon], should be prepared to answer the following questions. “Did the idea of religion originate wholly within the mind of man? Why would the human mind have originated religion?”
“Hence, the etymology of the word, in its Biblical sense, is precisely what it is said to be by Augustine…from the…Latin verb, religo, religare, meaning ‘to bind back’ or ‘to bind anew.’” “The close relationship of the family of words formed around the root lig (ligament, ligature, oblige, etc.) to that formed around the root leg (lex, legis, ‘law,’ hence legislate, legal, etc.) is too obvious to be ignored. These two families of words both have the connotation of a binding force. Whatever the word ‘religion’ may have meant to the pagan world, the fact remains that the essence of Biblical religion is a binding of a person anew to God (healing of the schism caused by sin: the God of the Bible is the covenant God) and is fully expressed in the word ‘reconciliation’ (2 Cor. 5:17-21). Just as the essential principle of music is harmony; of art, beauty; of government, authority; of sin, selfishness; so the fundamental principle of true religion is reconciliation.” [C. C. Crawford, Genesis: The Book of the Beginnings: College Press]
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Cor. 5:17-21)
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people." Therefore "Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you." "I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty." (2 Cor.6:14-18)
Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh--who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands-- that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Eph. 2:11-22)
“True religion,” as defined above, did not exist in the Garden of Eden, prior to man’s sin. Indeed, before sinning against God, man did not need to be reconciled to God. Immediately after the first sin, God revealed His intention to “bind man anew to [Himself] in Covenant relationship.” He said He would put “enmity between [the serpent] and the woman, and between [the serpent’s] seed and her seed.” (Gen. 3:15) “Enmity” is the opposite of friendship. Thus, to put enmity between the serpent and the woman would be to restore the friendship that had existed between her and God.
Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4)
The serpent’s seed are those who make themselves enemies of God through their disobedience.
You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. (John 8:44)
The woman’s seed is Jesus Christ, the Son God.
Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4)
Those who choose to be reconciled to God become enemies of the serpent, who of course is the Devil, or Satan (Rev. 12:9).
Thus, religion began with man’s expulsion from Eden and our first glimpse of it is in the offerings of Cain and Abel.
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, "I have acquired a man from the Lord." Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. (Genesis 4:1-5)
That Abel practiced “true religion” and Cain practiced “false religion” is evident from the following.
By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. (Hebrews 11:4)
not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother's righteous. (1 John 3:12)
It cannot be the case that all religion is false. If there were no true religion, there would be nothing to falsify. So, again, if God has not communicated with man in an objective manner, who told man that he needed to be reconciled to God? &
Sensory Perception & God
By Alexander Campbell
I believe all experiments yet made upon [deaf] persons have proved that faith, or the knowledge of God, and of a Creator, has come by hearing. By faith, Paul said, and not by reason, "we know that the worlds were made by the word of God." This case is extracted from "The Memoirs of the Academy of Science at Paris”--
“The son of a tradesman in Chartres, who had been deaf from his birth, and consequently dumb, when he was twenty -three or twenty-four years of age, began on a sudden to speak, without its being known that he had ever heard. This event drew the attention of every one, and many believed it to be miraculous. The young man, however, gave a plain and rational account, by which it appeared to proceed wholly from natural causes. He said that about four months before he was surprised by a NEW and pleasing sensation, which he afterward discovered to arise from the ringing bells; that as yet he heard with one ear, but afterward a kind of water came from his left ear, and then he could hear distinctly with both; and from this time he listened with the utmost curiosity and attention to the sounds which accompany those motions of the lips which he had before remarked to convey ideas or meaning from one person to another. In short, he was able to understand them, by noting the thing to which they related and the action they produced. And after repeated attempts to imitate them when alone, at the end of four months he thought himself able to talk. He, therefore, without having intimated what has happened, began at once to speak, and affected to join in conversation, though with much more imperfection than he was aware.
"Many divines immediately visited him, and questioned him concerning God, and the soul, moral good, and evil, and many other students of the same kind; but of all this they found him ignorant though he had been used to go to mass, and had been instructed in all externals of devotion, as making the signs of the cross, looking upward, kneeling at proper seasons, and using gestures of penitence, and prayer. Of death itself, which may be considered as a sensible object, he had very confused, and imperfect ideas, nor did It appear that he had ever reflected upon it. His life was little more than animal, and sensitive. He seemed to be contented with the simple perception of such objects as he could perceive, and did not compare from him. It appeared, however, that his understanding was vigorous, and his apprehensions quick, so that his intellectual defects must have been caused, not by the barrenness of the soil, but merely by the want of necessary cultivation." [Campbell-Owen Debate, page 154] &