We hear all the time that folks don’t believe the Bible because it contains so many “Contrived stories”. The stories either seem like simplistic morality tales or they appear to be too fantastic for belief. Almost like modern comic book stories. The question is, did they have comic books back then, or even an imagination capable of dreaming up such stuff? And, specifically, the story of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World, who came to rescue man from sin and darkness, is that something that anyone would simply “Make up”?
I am here to tell you, that God was very careful to see that everything was written down. It takes less faith and less imagination for the most part to believe what the Bible says, than it does the average comic book / fairy tale we see on the big screen these days. Take, for instance, Star Wars. Recently, we saw one of the highest grossing movies of all time hit the big screen where ostensibly, and incredibly, a bunch of geriatric former members of “The Rebellion” against the equivalent of a warrior force in the galaxy that contained enough power to blow up entire planets, somehow got back together in order to defeat a similar force that had risen up with comparable power.
That doesn’t strike you as contrived? And yet, people by the tens of millions are buying into it and (obviously) consider it one of the greatest stories of all time! Pardon me while I throw up. I enjoy the current genre of action movies, mostly comic books, even the Indiana Jones movies from some years back. But, really, they are too fantastic to be believed, at least the action sequences are for the most part. Hair splitting escapes, massive G-force collisions where the heroes somehow survive, without even any broken bones, and then get up and defeat their enemies! We know from practical experience, that you can’t even put a helmet on a football player and have him survive very many head-on collisions without some serious repercussions!
I’m telling you folks, the stories in the Bible are there primarily to teach us about God Himself, who He is, His faithfulness, His provision, and then secondly to teach us about our sinfulness and our need of Him and His offer of salvation. When you consider the Bible as a whole like that, it becomes clear that it’s actually a love letter – direct from God – written with the help of various human authors who were inspired to write down their stories and the testimonies, and the laws, in order to teach us those things.
Is God a “Fantastic” being, someone with unlimited powers (at least from our point of view)? Yes! Absolutely. I tell folks that one recent movie got part of the story correct: That would be the movie Interstellar. In that movie, they show a dimension (they attempt to show it anyhow) beyond our 4-dimensional world (3 physical dimensions + time as the 4th dimension). They call it a “5th Dimension” when in fact, we don’t know what the Spirit Realm really is, but we do know it’s beyond our physical space-time, because God, who created space-time exists somewhere outside of it (by definition). This is how God can see all of time at once, both the beginning and the end.
Another thing I tell folks is that what we call science, explanations for the physical world around us, are now catching up to the Bible in the sense that we now know the Universe had a definite beginning and will have a definite end. Plants and animals breed and produce offspring according to “Their kinds” as the Bible told us thousands of years ago, but which we only recently (last 200 years or so) began to understand with the study of genetics. And the Bible uses the phrase “As numerous as the stars” quite a number of times. This was baffling to many people – until the invention of the telescope. Because before the telescope, men had counted the stars and only come up with a few thousand, perhaps in the neighborhood of 10,000 that were visible to the naked eye. With the advent of the telescope we now know that there are billions of galaxies with billions of stars!
In the book of Genesis, the story of Jacob is told with his “Animal husbandry” experiments, where he attempted to selectively breed his sheep for certain characteristics (those that would benefit him economically and harm his employer by the way). Also, if you read the Bible and understand what it’s saying, and you take, e.g., the genealogy of Jesus from the first chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, you realize that those who were in Jesus’ lineage were a veritable “Who’s who” of the dysfunctional family. If the Bible were written to selectively show a group that had been “Set apart” and was somehow different or “Better than” the general population (because they knew God intimately, supposedly, and had prophets who relayed messages directly from Him) then you would expect the Bible to show them in some kind of more positive light. Instead, they are portrayed as idolaters, murderers, adulterers, liars and so on.
What you come to realize when you read the Bible, if you are intellectually honest, is that it is a real book, written to show both the power of God, who is actively involved in His creation, and the decrepit nature of man, who is constantly seeking a way to further his own “Kingdom” outside of the influence of the supreme being of the Universe. After all, when you read the account of the “Fall of Man” in the third chapter of the book of Genesis, you begin to understand that it wasn’t just about eating some forbidden fruit. Some translations state that the Serpent (Satan) told Eve that if they consumed the fruit that they would be “Like God, knowing good and evil”, but in reality the meaning of the phrase is more like they would be “Like God, being able to decide what is good and what is evil for themselves”.
That’s the essential meaning of it anyhow, according to how I understand it, from all I’ve read and studied over the years. We humans, naturally, want to decide for ourselves what is right and wrong. That’s the piece of the fallen nature (sinfulness) that we have inherited from our forbears all down through the generations. We do not want to be told what is right and wrong by anybody else, we want to decide for ourselves! But, that is what the Bible defines clearly as idolatry (making a god of our own choosing). We take what parts from the Bible we want to believe and discard the rest, and view Jesus as simply a good teacher, or a prophet perhaps, but not the Savior of the World and our Lord, the Son of the Father, given all authority to rule and judge the sins of mankind.
So the real question boils down to this: Can you trust the Bible? Is it telling us true accounts of historical people, or some set of contrived stories that were only designed to give us a moral background for the Hebraic Law? My opinion is certain that the biblical accounts are told of actual people, who lived real lives, and their stories are laid down both in order to teach us about God the Father, and the Holy Spirit and His Son, Jesus Christ, as well they are sufficient to bring about a response of saving faith on our part; that faith being in the accomplished work of Jesus on the Cross at Calvary where He died an atoning death to pay the penalty for our sin thus paving the way for our entry into Heaven (the spirit realm) with Him after we die.