PODCAST: The Reasons to Believe #177 with Daniel Whyte III

Welcome to The Reasons to Believe podcast, episode #177. My name is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International.

Our Reasons to Believe Scripture Passage for today is Psalm 119:105. It reads, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from Tim Keller. He said, “We should let Scripture interpret us more than we interpret Scripture.”

Our Reason to Believe powerpoint today is titled “The Bible: Myth or History?, Part 9” from “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli.

The authors continue with the third part of this chapter subtitled, “Eight Basic Principles of Biblical Interpretation.”

Know Which Stories Are Historical

There are three possibilities here: literal history, nonliteral history or fiction (drama, parable, fable, myth—many forms). Modern history is usually literal. Traditional history is often nonliteral—for example, the speeches in Thucydides. Fictions are not historical at all.

Some biblical stories are literal history—for example, the court history of the kings of Israel. Some is nonliteral history—for example, the story of the Garden of Eden and the Fall in Genesis 3, and the creation story in Genesis 1 and 2. And some stories are literary fictions—for example, the parables, perhaps Jonah, probably Job.

Genesis 3 is the crucial example in the Old Testament. There are three reasons why the Fall can’t be mere moral parable or fiction. First, if the Fall is not historical at all, then its effects—suffering and death—also are not historical. If sin is historical in its effects, it must be historical in its cause.

Second, if Adam’s fall didn’t really happen, then Christ’s salvation need not have really happened either. Paul deliberately juxtaposes and parallels these two in Romans 6, calling Christ the New Man or Second Adam. If “the first Adam” was not historical, why must the second Adam be? If the disease is merely mythic, not historical, then the cure can be merely mythic, not historical.

Finally, if the Fall didn’t really happen in history, then God rather than humanity is to blame for sin, for God must have created us as sinners rather than innocents. If there was never any real unfallen state, then we were sinners from the first moment of our creation, and God was wrong to declare everything he made “good.”

So the story must be historical. But it need not be literal. The two trees, the talking snake and the magic fruit seem to be poetic symbols rather than literal, physical things.

The same is true of the creation poems in Genesis 1 and 2. Creation really happened; God really did design and create the universe and all its ordered species. But these chapters cannot possibly be literal eyewitness descriptions, for there were no eyes before there were humans. And God has no physical body or literal eyes. So this story must fit the middle category: historical but not literal.

It is not difficult to decide where most passages in the Bible are meant to fit. Until the modernists came along, nearly all readers, educated and uneducated alike, interpreted nearly all passages in nearly the same ways. God did not design the Bible to be a dark puzzle for bright scholars but to be a bright lamp for travelers through a dark world.

Lord willing, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

—PRAYER—

Now, if you are listening today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, please keep in mind these reasons to believe. God bless!