Friday, November 26, 2010

The Miraculous Accounts of the Hebrew Bible

One atheist claimed that there is no more reason to believe in the Koran than in the Bible. He also claimed that the Bible is a “propaganda piece,” and therefore, its accounts of miracles can’t be believed. Here’s my response:

In the Koran, Mohammad acknowledged that he didn't perform miracles. Muslims also allege that the Bible had prophesied of Him, but none of their examples are in the slightest way convincing.

In contrast, the Hebrew Bible is very unique in many ways:

1. The miracles were performed abundantly and before all the people, even before nations.

2. The entire Bible narrative depends upon these miraculous accounts. If they are not true, then the rest of the narrative doesn’t make much sense. For example, the Bible says continuously says such disparaging things about the Hebrews. It even tells them that they will fail and have to suffer dreadful consequences. They couldn’t even tolerate His presence. (The Hebrew Bible is the very antithesis of a “propaganda piece!”) Why then would they continue to follow His covenant, unless for the miraculous evidences of God’s reality and Word were present?

3. All subsequent accounts are dependent upon the notion that God’s Word was always with Israel (Joshua 8:35). It was read at their holidays and it condemned them when they went wrong. Why would they receive a Word that claimed to be always with them, a Word that contained many miraculous accounts attesting to God’s presence, unless they all knew that these accounts represented historical truth? If the Hebrews hadn’t been eyewitnesses to miraculous Scriptural accounts as Scripture says that they were, they would have had every reason in the world to reject Scripture and follow the other gods who were much more approachable and fun, gods who promoted orgies and all sorts of other “delights.”

4. There is a continuous paper-trail from Moses through the latter Prophets, all attesting to the same events. There are no counter indications that Israel had not been feasting on a regular diet of miracles.

5. There is continuity between the OT miracles and those of Jesus, also performed before thousands. Jesus’ miracles were even attested to by His enemies. Even today, Orthodox Jews will acknowledge that Jesus was a miracle worker but claim that He performed His miracles by the power of Satan. This continuity lends credence to the OT accounts.

6. The experience of the Hebrews also reflects the miraculous hand of God – three times leaving their Promised Land and three times returning; persecuted and hated internationally as Moses and the prophets had prophesied and always successful, also as prophesied. We may not be able to now see the miracles of the OT, but we can observe the Jewish people, a present-day reminder of the presence of God.

7. Fulfilled prophecy!

8. The accounts are in harmony with the culture and language of the times in which they were reportedly written. (See Gleason Archer, “Survey of OT Introductions”)

9. These Scriptures are transformational for those who believe.

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