Can the Bible be verified by the scientific method? Actually, in general there is more about the universe that science simply cannot explain than what can be asserted as truth. And the greatest accomplishment of Charles Darwin was in having the scientific community accept speculation held in agreement as a standard which can replace the findings of strict experimental studies. Although the Bible must never be found inconsistent with science, or with logic, grammar, or history, it sets out its own standard for how it should be verified as the Word of God — prophecy.
Isaiah 46:9,10 — Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.
Science does not explain why time cannot be conceived without a beginning — but the bible notes that before time began, there existed a spiritual world which actually controls how time unfolds, which we know is true through prophecy. The Bible is filled with countless prophecies. By its own proof test, it passes marvelously, and science cannot explain why.
Note, for example, one prophecy that Christians maintain is extremely relevant to current events, the reestablishment of the nation of Israel in a single day. Note Ezekiel chp. 37, or in particular verse 22 (referencing the divided kingdoms of Israel, which resulted from the civil war following the death of Solomon): — And I and will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms anymore at all. Note Isaiah 66:8 — Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. Note that under the Persian decree of 445 B.C., that the temple in Jerusalem should be rebuilt, Israel only became again a political state within the Persian Empire in a single day, not a nation. Under the Maccabean revolt, Israel became a nation again, but not in a single day. Only by papers signed through the United Nations did Israel become a nation again in a single day.
However, the Bible indicates some precise dating. Note the position outlined in The Coming Prince by Sir Robert Anderson. Nehemiah 2:1 indicates the Persian decree on rebuilding the Temple was issued in the month of Nissan in the 20th year of Artaxerxes. The Talmud gives the day as the 1st of Nissan, and the Royal Observatory of Greenwich, UK, computed the date as March 14, 445 B.C. (For the following calculations, note that the Bible uses 360 day years — for example, Genesis 7:11, 24; 8:3,4; Esther 1:4; Revelation 11:2,3; 12:6; 13:5-7, cf. Daniel 7:25). Daniel 9:24-27 notes that from the time of the commandment to restore Jerusalem, the Jews would have 70 weeks of years to be reconciled with God in regard to sin, which would involve the coming of the Messiah, who would be cut off after 69 weeks, before the events of the great tribulation in the last seven years would be played out. Note — 69 x 7 = 483 yrs., or 173,880 days in Biblical years, or April 6, 32, Palm Sunday. Or again — 3/14/445 BC to 3/14/32 = 476 yrs. of 365 days, or 173,740 days + 116 leap days + 24 days from 3/14 to 4/6 = 173,880 days.
However, building on Anderson's work the exact date of the recreation of Israel can be determined from Scripture. Ezekiel 4:3-6, indicates Israel would be punished 390 and 40 years. Jeremiah 25:11, indicates that the decree for the right of return would occur after 70 years. Only 360 years should have remained for the punishment at that time. However, only about 50,000 Jews returned then, but the great majority of them did not repent but remained in the Persian empire in the area of Iran and Iraq. Leviticus 26:17,18,21,23, 24,27,28, indicates that if the Jews would not harken unto God, after he punished them by enemy conquest, he would multiply the penalty of their sin by seven. 360 x 7 = 2,520 years, or in 360 day years, 2483.8 years. (Note only one year between 1 BC and AD). 536 BC + 2483.8 = May 15, 1948. (Note The Signature of God, pp.168-170, Armageddon, by Grant R. Jeffrey, pp. 37-40, 299,300)
The story of the Jews, who gave us the Bible, verifies prophecy. Note the following quote from Can I Trust the Bible, by Robert D. Culver, pp. 114,115.
"According to a well-known story, Frederick the Great of Prussia, a famous doubter, once asked his court chaplain, 'Give me in one word a proof of the truth of the Bible.' The answer was simply, 'The Jews.'
"God chose them not because they were big, good, or famous (Deut. 7:7, 8 ), but simply on account of His sovereign love. Moses predicted that from the time to time they would be scattered from their land on account of unbelief and disobedience (Deut. 28:36,63 ff.) In dispersion they would be 'an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword among all nations whither the Lord shall lead them' (Deut. 28:37). Yet they were not to be scattered 'to destroy them utterly' (see Lev. 26, esp. verses 43-46). They would later return. The northern tribes were so evicted about 722 B.C. (II Kings 17), and the mass of them have remained in dispersion to the present day. In a series of deportations from 605 to 586 B.C., the Babylonians took away the Jewish inhabitants of southern Palestine. Yet according to Moses' general prediction they were to return, and according to the prophecies of Jeremiah this was to take place in about 70 years (Jer. 25:11; cf. Dan. 9:1,2). And they did return, as reported in Ezra, Nehemiah and several of the minor prophets.
"They were still in Palestine when Jesus was born. Yet He predicted that their holy Jerusalem was soon to be destroyed (Matt. 24:1, 2) and that they would again be scattered. These things all took place within about a century. Yet Jesus also said that the nation of Israel would endure to the very end of this age (Matt. 24:34); the apostles expected their kingdom to return (Acts 1:6); Paul predicts their future conversion and restoration to divine favor (Rom. II, esp. verse 26). The last book of the Bible states that the Jews as a people will yet behold Jesus their Messiah and mourn for him (Rev. 1:7), and a host of Old Testament predictions indicate that they shall again possess their land (see esp. Jer. 31).
"It is just possible that we are seeing in the well-known recent events in Jewry and in Palestine the fulfillment, in part, of these prophecies. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall never slumber nor sleep' (Ps. 121:4). 'Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is his name: if those ordinances depart from before me, saith the lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever (Jer. 31:35, 36). So the history of Israel through the centuries is a story of remarkable prophecy and its remarkable fulfillment."
To hold that prophecy does not verify the Bible as the Word of God, examples should be cited of predictions that have not come true — but there are none. However an example can be cited of a very famous and powerful person, who tried to make prophecy fail, but whose efforts were discredited. In 362 A.D., the nephew of Constantine, Julian the Apostate, wanted to reestablish paganism and destroy Christianity. Knowing that the fulfillment of prophecy was the key argument favoring Christianity, he decided to disprove Luke 21:24, that Jerusalem will be downtrodden until the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled. Julian sent word throughout the Empire that government help would be given to the Jews to rebuild the temple. Jews came from all lands and began excavation for rebuilding the temple, which led to a series of explosions, which ended the project, not to be resumed as Julian died a few months later. Edward Gibbon noted that the explosions merely occurred due to natural gas being trapped underground, but that does not change the fact that the Roman Empire could not reverse the Word of God. (Note The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia, Vol. M-P, "Prophets and Prophecy," by A. A. MacRae, p.888).
And then, how should explanation be made of someone fulfilling prophecy, when he had no interest in doing so? Why did Alexander the Great carry on a campaign of war consistent with predictions of Scripture? In Can I Trust the Bible, Robert D. Culver also notes at pp. 113,114, that the cities stipulated for conquest in Zachariah 9:1-8, correspond exactly to Josephus' account of Alexander the Great's march against them. Tyre was desolated, not Sidon, and the Palestine cities of Gaza, Ekron, Ashdod, and Ashkelon were captured, not Gath.
M. Paul Webb
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