Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13
meanings all go to prove that facts of history must not bend to words, but words must bend to the facts. But this false use and uncertain use of words characterizes the methods of higher criticism and time and again the facts of Biblical history have by it been set aside in the interests of word-stickling higher critics—to their confusion when archaeology corroborated the Bible.
Their claim to be able to tell who wrote what in ancient literature, and that written in a dead language, confessedly not thoroughly understood now, resulting, e.g., in their claim that from seven different documents Genesis has been compounded, and that other Bible books likewise have been compounded from a number of documents by unknown editors, is preposterous in the extreme. They cannot even do this with compounded writings of their own language, written by authors whom they know, with whose style and modes of thought they are familiar, let alone with (alleged) writings of unknown authors, written in a dead language in many ways unclear to them, allegedly mixed together by unknown editors of whose existence nobody ever heard, until the imaginations of higher critics conjured them up. It so happens that in our times several authors have collaborated in the writing of various books, e.g., Messrs. Besant and Rice have together written a number of books. But though scholars have attempted to find out where one ends and the other begins and which one of them wrote any specific part, none of them has succeeded in finding this out. For years Prof. A. H. Sayce, one of the greatest of secular and Biblical archaeologists, an invincible opponent of higher criticism, challenged critics to point out the parts of the books that each of several co-authors wrote in well known modern languages, and the critics have failed to do so. At a Methodist conference where the higher critics present propagandized their theories, two ministers present, whose writings were familiar to all there, challenged those critics to decipher who wrote what in an account of the conference that they offered
to write. They then retired, wrote their accounts separately, combined them into one account and returned to the conference, but none of the critics could, after much study, tell who wrote what in that combined account. How much less can the critics do this with the alleged documents, allegedly underlying the Bible?
To the Bible believer, and to others of a fair mind, one of the most objectionable things about higher criticism is its implying that Jesus and the Apostles were mistaken as some, and dishonest as other higher critics say in assigning the Pentateuch to Moses' authorship, many of the Psalms to David's, Joshua, Judges and Ruth to Samuel's, Isaiah to Isaiah's, etc., for some of them claim that they were ignorant on the subject; others of the critics make them deceivers in the matter, alleging that they knew that the above-named were not the authors, but spoke of them as such, because they did not wish to disturb unduly in their faith the common people. But Jesus and the Apostles, by their appeals to and uses of those writings, prove that they believed them to have been authored by the ones that they named as such. Jesus and the Apostles used these writings as inspired revelations, and rested the proof of their case upon those writings. According to some critics Jesus and the Apostles were ignorant of the subject, higher criticism not yet having been born; and according to others they were willful deceivers thereon the better to palm off their opinions. Words fail us properly to characterize such blasphemies.
Their splitting up Bible books into their alleged documentary sources has created new and grave difficulties not before had; and it could not reasonably be otherwise. As shown above, there are difficulties in the Bible, one reason for which is, that as an oriental book it cannot be otherwise than that it should contain difficulties to occidentals. The main reason for this, however, we also pointed out above: God drew it up in a way to test the faith, hope, love and obedience of His people, and to manifest and stumble the unbelieving,
disobedient and unfaithful among them. But the difficulties that arise through the splitting up of the Bible into its alleged sourcal documents are decidedly more and graver, and are in many cases inexplicable. In Princeton University's Dr. Green's controversy with Chicago University's Dr. Harper on the structure and authorship of Genesis, the former pointed out how the Mosaic authorship of it maintains its unity, harmony, clarity and simplicity as a literary product, and how Dr. Harper's documentary view of its authorship destroyed its unity, harmony, clarity and simplicity. Dr. Delitzsch, in his old age, became a so-called evangelical higher critic, believing still in the inspiration of the alleged editors who were supposed to have compiled the pertinent books. His commentaries on Genesis, Psalms and Isaiah, written and published in several editions before he became a higher critic, were perhaps the ablest commentaries on these books; but after he became a higher critic, even a so-called evangelical one, he revised these commentaries, and certainly made them a mass of confusion, for which doubtless his advanced years were in part responsible.
Higher criticism has been unfruitful of good results, and has certainly produced evil results. Who ever heard of higher critics leading sinners to Christ, and then leading justified sinners to consecration, and the consecrated unto making their calling and election sure, which should be the objects of all Bible study? But in the cases of ten thousands of ministers, they have made skeptics of them, and in the case of millions of the laity they have made unbelievers of them. Thus barrenness of real good and irreligiousness of many are the fruits of higher criticism. And we may be sure such effects have resulted in the corruption of good characters; for such are the results of unbelief. "By their fruits ye shall know them!" This is a good criterion.
Higher criticism, in its evolutionary form, is ever a greater evil than in its documentary form: for it is possible to believe in the inspiration of the Bible while
accepting the latter, as we just saw to be the case with Dr. Delitzsch, but it is impossible so to do while accepting the former. Evolutionary higher critics claim that people had not evolved sufficiently in Moses' time to have arrived at the moral and religious heights of the Pentateuch, hence Moses, they say, could not have given Israel the high morals, e.g., the ten commandments and the civil laws of the Pentateuch, nor its elevated doctrines, e.g., monotheism; but here archaeology has given the critics a death blow, revealing that a Pharaoh of about Moses' time sought to put away polytheism and introduce monotheism, and Egyptian and Babylonian monuments attest that they had high standards of ethics. As for the civil laws of the Pentateuch being too far advanced for the learned and unlearned of Moses' time, since allegedly they had not evoluted high enough, the discovery of the code of Khammer-rabi, the Amraphel of Gen. 14, proves that 400 years before Moses' time very elaborated and remarkable civil laws were in operation, some of them like those of the Pentateuch, others different from them. In human history evolution is a delusion. Human history proves that nations and civilizations are like a human being; they begin, progress, become stationary, decay and dissolve, e.g., this has been true of Israel, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, the Holy Roman Empire and modern nations, which are now rushing to disintegration. The seeming exception to this now manifested in science, education, invention, etc., is not due to evolution; but to God's giving Millennial foregleams in preparation for the Kingdom, some of these being used to overthrow Satan's empire, now taking place, and some of these to producing agencies for the Millennial transformations shortly ahead of us. Not along evolutionary lines, but along advancing lines as due God caused His revelation to progress (Prov. 4: 18) from the simple to the more complex, adapting certain of its features then due to the capacities of the various generations of Israel; but concealing
in Old Testament types, prophecies and symbols its main features, until the Gospel Age (Col. 1: 27; Rom. 16: 25, 26) for the special use of the Christ.
Higher criticism's placing the origin of the Pentateuch from the 17th to the 5th century B. C. is in most striking contradiction of the geography as well as of the antiquities of Egypt. The geography of Egypt during the days of Moses was strikingly different from that of 400 years later, let alone from 1,000 to 1,200 years later when allegedly the Pentateuch was written. Above we have seen how the "assured results" of higher criticism have fallen to the ground before the facts of archaeology, law and religion. We will now turn to the geography of ancient Egypt and show that it meets the same fate at its hands. The political changes through which Egypt passed greatly changed its geography from time to time; for the geography of the Eastern Delta differed greatly at different periods of Egyptian history, e.g., a map of Egypt for the 19th Dynasty differs greatly from maps of other periods. The Old Testament history touched Egypt at three different periods: that of the patriarchs, that of the Exodus and that of Israel's kings. Let us now note that of the Exodus. If the Exodus was written 1,000-1,200 years later than Moses' time, as the higher critics claim, it would be full of geographical mistakes; for the geography of the seventh, sixth and fifth centuries B. C. was wholly unlike that of the 17th century B C. Moreover, those living in the former centuries knew almost nothing of the differences between the former's and the latter's geography; for the latter's geography was not known in those centuries; indeed, was not known until lately, when archaeology brought it to light. E.g., nothing in the fifth century was known from its geography of the store cities, Pithom and Raamses, which lay unknown, buried under sand at that time; but in 1884 Dr. E. Naville discovered them through his excavations, and by inscriptions learned that Rameses II, the Pharaoh of the oppression, at whose court Moses was raised,
was the builder of both, the name Raamses also serving to identify one of them. But the geographical details of Egypt given in Exodus agree completely with the geography that archaeology has discovered to be that of Egypt during the 19th dynasty, whose ablest representative was Rameses II. Through papyri we have found out much of Egypt's geography during the 19th Dynasty. Through them we have been able to locate the great fortification wall, that guarded Egypt from Asia, the Shur as Exodus calls it, and that compelled Israel to go south to the Red Sea to avoid it.
To the west of it was the district of Thukot, the Exodus' Succoth, of which Pithom was the capital, Goshen was just where Gen. and Ex. place it. Meneptah, the Pharaoh of the Exodus, built Khetem, the Etham of Ex. Migdol of Ex. has also been found. These facts of geography did not exist during the 18th Dynasty, nor in any others following the 19th. Exodus, therefore, must have been written about the time of the 19th Dynasty, and certainly not 1,100 years later, when the knowledge of the pertinent geography had been lost. The papyri state that Goshen had then been set aside for Asiatic herdsmen (Jacob's sons and their descendants were such), but later papyri speak of that land as deserted by its herdsmen. All this agrees in detail with the descriptions of Exodus. Thus history, archaeology and geography fix the Exodus at the time that Exodus gives. If Exodus had been invented even three centuries after the 19th Dynasty, because of the great geographical changes following its fall and that of the 20th Dynasty, wiping out the cities, etc., existing during the former one, the pertinent geographical allusions would have been different, as the former ones were forgotten, buried under Egypt's drifting sands. What shall we say would have been such allusions, if Exodus had been written 1,100 or 1,200 years later— after the exile? It would have been full of geographical mistakes. Hence geography overthrows the critics' "assured results" as to the date of Exodus' composition.
In its evolutionary form higher criticism is an erroneous theory. This is apparent from a number of standpoints. From the standpoint of Biblical numerics its denial of the Bible's being a Divine revelation is completely overthrown; for Biblical Numerics is so manysided, detailed, superhuman and superangelic that it cannot be accounted for on other grounds than that it has sprung from an omniscient mind, i.e., from God; hence it is a Divine revelation, which overthrows higher criticism's chief claim for its evolutionary form—the Bible is no revelation but a record, product and expression of Israel's religious evolution. Again Biblical Numerics' manysidedness, details, superhuman and superangelic mechanism proves the Bible's inspiration, which, in addition to its refuting the documentary form of higher criticism, completely overthrows its evolutionary form, which as basal to itself denies inspiration. These facts make it entirely unnecessary and entirely fallacious to assume, as higher criticism does, that the Bible is the record, product and expression of Israel's development along evolutionary lines. If the Bible were such a record, product and expression, why was it that it was produced by Israelites alone and not at least in part by Babylonians, Egyptians, Assyrians, Indians, Chinese or Greeks, all of whom were very richly endowed with the religious sense, as their religions show? Certainly Israel was by far less gifted than most of the foregoing nations, in natural religion, proved by the facts that they repeatedly fell away from the true into the false religions of some of these, and that it took, not evolution, but severe and repeated chastisements to bring them back to the Old Testament oracles. Had the alleged documentary editors, including allegedly Ezra and colaborers, evoluted so highly as to produce what only omniscience can?! Had they evoluted so much as to have produced the Divine Miracle of Biblical Numerics, as it were, in their sleep, since they were entirely unconscious of its operation, and since higher criticism denies inspiration?!
Higher criticism, holding that Amos and Hosea wrote their named books, believes them to have been unlearned men, as, according to the Bible, they actually were. How then, we ask, could they have of themselves produced the highly cultivated style characteristic of their books? And how could such uneducated men, of themselves, have worked out the Biblical numerics that underlie their books? Repeatedly they teach monotheism, which higher criticism makes arise two centuries later. Again, take for example, Israel's rise as a nation full sprung as such at the Exodus and in David's time acting as a dominating nation. Higher criticism in its extreme evolutionary form denies Moses' and David's existence. We know from history that no nation or empire suddenly sprang into national and dominating existence without some special and dominating leader. Babylon had its Nebuchadnezzar; Persia its Cyrus; Greece, its Solon and Alexander; Rome, its Julius and Augustus Caesar; the Holy Roman Empire, its Charlemagne; England, its Elizabeth; France, its Napoleon; Germany, its Bismarck; Russia, its Peter the Great; the U. S., its Washington. Since archaeology apart from the Bible testifies to Israel's springing forth as a full fledged nation at the time of the Exodus, it must have had a dominating leader—a Moses; and at the time of Israel's ascendancy, it must have had a dominating leader—a David. Great and dominating personalities invariably are found in great national and empire movements. Hence, evolutionary higher criticism, denying the reality of Moses and David, presents us with a monstrosity—the only great national movements without great personalities—dominating leaders. In view of the above and other considerations the following is our judgment: Higher criticism is bankrupt as a method of investigation. It is dangerous as a study. It is a perversion of Truth. It debauches history. It misuses words. It denies revelation. It rejects inspiration. It desecrates religion. It traduces the Bible. It degrades Moses and the Prophets. It belies the
Apostles. It makes Jesus a deceiver. It blasphemes God! Hence it is an object of abhorrence to God's children, because it is an object of abhorrence to God.
Like evolution, to use the terms that Virchow, the greatest scientist of the 19th century, applied to it, higher criticism is nothing but "a windy hypothesis, in defense of which not one fact speaks authoritatively." It was born in Satan's head and palmed off on the world by men whom God had rejected from His special favor; for it is a part of the second slaughter weapon of Ezek. 9, whereby certain unfaithful ones were sifted out from among God's people and became sifters, and it is a part of the second Harvest's siftings' antitypical golden calf, and its proponents are, among others, typed by erratic Aaron as the maker of that calf. Thanks be to God that in the face of Biblical numerics, history, archaeology and geography, it lies slain; and God's inspired revelation, the Bible, comes out of its battle with the critics victorious and all the stronger for the battle. It is also true of the Bible, as it is true of the Sarah Covenant in its appliers to God's children: "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that riseth against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord" (Is. 54: 17). Amen and Amen! Therefore "rejoice in the Lord all ye righteous"; and "give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness"; for strong is the Lord God that upholdeth you and all His enemies shall flee from before the blast of His trumpet, which, as the seventh, is now sounding and will continue to sound until the end of the Millennial Kingdom, wherein it shall be glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will to men.
The main objections to both revelation and inspiration are made by higher criticism; and we have, in the foregoing, shown the erroneousness of higher criticism in its two forms—its documentary theory and its evolutionary theory. The Biblical difficulties
that it points out are all solvable, and have been solved by proper explanations, the details belonging to commentaries, and not to a discussion of them like that made here. We have solved some of the main ones in our answer to Mr. Darrow's presentation of them (EA, 354-372). The main other ones we will answer here. Some object to the verbal and sense inspiration of the Bible, on what they consider Bible reasons. These will be considered first of all. Luke 1: 3 is presented as such an one, the objector claiming that inspiration precludes investigation on the part of the inspired writer. We quote the passage as given in the I. V.: "It seemed good to me also, having traced from above [by Divine help] all things accurately, to write to thee in order." It will be noted that St. Luke expressly states that it was from above, God, that he traced these matters. Through Luke's investigations God revealed to him what he should write and what he should avoid writing, evidenced by the fact that, though he traced all things as to Jesus' life and teachings, he omitted many things that, e.g., Matthew, Mark and John gave on these subjects, and gave many things that they omit. Biblical numerics prove that both his words and thoughts were inspired. Accordingly, we see that one's study does not exclude the idea of revelation and inspiration. Those who think so think unfactually, as the pertinent facts in Luke's case prove the contrary. Luke's reference to the enrollment of Joseph and Mary (Luke 2: 2) as occurring in the governorship of Cyrenius is alleged by some to be a disproof of the inerrancy and hence of the inspiration of the Bible, the allegers claiming that Cyrenius was not the governor of Syria until 6-9 A. D. But the investigations of Dr. Zumpt led to the discovery that Cyrenius was governor of Syria twice, the two periods beginning 3 B. C. and 6 A. D. respectively, a coin of the first governorship being found, confirming that first governorship. Thus the objection falls to the ground.
Some of St. Paul's statements in 1 Cor. 7 on the subject of marriage and divorce are by some interpreted as meaning that some of his pertinent teachings are uninspired, e.g., v. 6: "I speak this by permission, and not by commandment," is, by such, interpreted to mean that what he had just said on marital continence was not a matter of God's command, i.e., inspired, but something of his own origination, whereas the Apostle's thought is that such continence is not a matter that the Lord commands as a duty, but permits as a privilege. Hence the Apostle does not here disclaim inspiration as to that remark. In vs. 10, 12, 25 some think that he disclaims inspiration on the pertinent statements, thus v. 10: "I command, yet not I, but the Lord"; v. 12: "To the rest speak I, not the Lord"; v. 25: "Concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord; yet I give my judgment." To this objection we give the following answer: St. Paul is not contrasting human thought with inspiration, but his apostolic teachings, which were all inspired, with Jesus' inspired utterances while in the flesh. Thus, as to v. 10 Jesus in Matt. 19 had given the same thought, commandment, as St. Paul gives in v. 10, i.e., that consecrated husbands should not divorce their consecrated wives nor vice versa. On the subject of a consecrated spouse living with an unconsecrated spouse (v. 12), Jesus had not expressed Himself while in the flesh, hence Paul said that Jesus had not then issued a command on the subject; but after He left the flesh He evidently revealed it to the Apostle to charge that the consecrated spouse should not put away the unconsecrated spouse, which revelation is here given by inspiration. Thus in this verse St. Paul does not disclaim inspiration. As to v. 25 the Apostle is discussing the question of whether the consecrated should marry or not, and thereon declares that for them the matter was not by God made obligatory, a command, that they should or should not marry, nor had Jesus while in the flesh given commandments on that subject. Then
the Apostle proceeds to give His judgment, which is that of an inspired Apostle. His inspired judgment was that these unmarried consecrated brethren will do better not to marry, if they can live chastily without marriage, since they would be spared many a trial thereby, and be freer to serve the Lord than if married; but if not able to live chastily without marriage, they will do better to marry. Thus what he gives is an inspired counsel, not a command; and thus, whether the consecrated marry or not must be left to the judgment of each one as to whether he can live chastily without marriage or not. For the unconsecrated God's general ordinance is that they marry; for it is not good that such be alone. Hence St. Paul's language in 1 Cor. 7 does not disclaim inspiration on anything.
Several other expressions of St. Paul are by some claimed to be disclaimed by St. Paul to be inspired. One of these is Rom. 6: 18, 19: "I speak after the manner of men." An understanding of the Apostle's thought refutes such a view. In the connection he speaks of some as the slaves of sin, and of others (God's people) as slaves of righteousness. Actually God's people are not His slaves (Gal. 4: 7: the word doulos translated in the A. V. as servants is the same word as in Rom. 6: 18, 19 is translated servants, but should have been rendered slaves in both passages), but are sons, who serve God and righteousness more zealously than the most devoted slave serves his master. Hence St. Paul here uses the word doulos, slave, figuratively. And such figurative speech is what he means when he says that he speaks after the manner of men. But in the use of such figurative, human speech, he was inspired as well as when he used literal speech. 2 Cor. 11: 17 is another passage that some think is an example of St. Paul's disclaiming inspiration by the words, "That which I speak, I speak not after the Lord, but as in foolishness." The circumstances were these: Some apostates were trying to undermine the Apostle's character, office and works with the Corinthians, and were
doing so much mischief against the brethren that the Apostle, like Jesus and later servants of God, e.g., the Parousia and Epiphany Messengers, to prevent injury from being permanently done God's work at enemies' hands, had to defend his character, apostolic office and work. Among other ways he used, in irony, the very charges that enemies brought against him, "he speaks not after the Lord, but in foolishness," to disarm their charges, also to prevent them from charging his words as being fulsome self-praise. Therefore, he talks ironically of himself as not being Divinely ordered in speech and as being foolish, while recounting his praiseworthy deeds, character and office, and thus blunts the edge of their charge that he was fulsomely praising himself. But was he really speaking undivinely? Was he really indulging in foolishness? Certainly not! for he was plainly using irony, his thought through its use being actually the opposite of what the words would have meant, if not spoken in irony. The situation could best be met by this; hence under inspiration he used it thus and disarmed the opponents, by arousing through his irony the resentment of the faithful against his opponents, thus preventing these from injuring others.
2 Cor. 12: 2, 3 is by some alleged to be a disclaimer of inspiration by St. Paul: "Whether in [with, i.e., whether he saw the mentioned things with his bodily eyes] the body or out of [apart from, i.e., whether he saw the mentioned things with his mental eyes] the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth." What St. Paul saw was so vivid, and so completely engrossed his attention, that he did not at the time think on whether the thing was a physical or mental object, i.e., did not know whether God caused physical objects to appear before his physical eyes or caused only mental objects to appear before his mental eyes. But such lack of knowledge does not negative revelation or inspiration, even as the prophets' not understanding the revelations that they received and wrote out did not annul their revelation and inspiration (Dan. 12: 8, Matt. 13: 17; 1 Pet. 1: 10—12).
Neither revelation nor inspiration guarantees omniscience in, nor even the knowledge or understanding of what they uttered by those who were their agents; all they guarantee is infallibility in telling and writing them out. In the present case St. Paul received the inspiration to write of his visions and revelations, but God, in this particular case, withheld from him the knowledge as to whether the vision and revelation were given his physical or mental eyes to see. Finally, some cite as a disclaimer of inspiration by Paul, 1 Cor. 1: 16: "I know not whether I baptized any other." The objector here assumes that inspiration makes the memory retain every occurrence or every feature of an occurrence to which the inspired might allude. As inspiration does not guarantee omniscience to its agents, but leaves them in ignorance of some things connected with cited experiences, neither does it guarantee that they will remember everything connected with their cited experiences. As it was not necessary to the inspiration of St. Paul's cogent argument against the propriety of his or others' building up a sect of personal and sectarian followers, for him to remember how many others he had baptized, if there were others that he baptized, God did not here do the unnecessary thing—inspire his memory to recall if he had baptized others than those that he named in this connection. Thus this objection, misbased on this passage, is shown to be a fallacy.
Some object to inspiration because of the difficulties in the Scriptures, alleging that an omniscient and inerrant Inspirer would have avoided difficulties and ambiguities. Without any doubt there are difficulties and obscurities in the Bible. But the Bible is not the only revelation of God that contains them; His other revelation, nature, has them. Many indeed are the parables, symbols, figures, types and dark sayings in the Bible, all of which make for difficulties and obscurities. The very fact that the Bible is an oriental book makes it difficult and obscure for occidentals to decipher it. The fact that it is written in what are now dead languages,
imperfectly understood, makes for more difficulties in the path of the translator, and hence in the path of those dependent on translations. And since the natural man cannot understand spiritual things, and a large part of the Bible treats of spiritual things, it is full of difficulties and obscurities to the natural man; and even to the more or less developed new creatures it has such. The fact that it contains mysteries increases these difficulties and obscurities. The fact that none of these mysteries can be understood even by the Lord's special mouthpieces until due, and then for their understanding require a special direct illumination from the Lord, vouchsafed to none but such mouthpieces, increases these difficulties and obscurities. The fact that the Lord will clarify these mysteries to those only who by faithfulness amid trial, demonstrate fitness to receive the clarification, makes it necessary for the Bible to abound in difficulties. The objection that an omniscient and inerrant Inspirer must give a clear revelation free from difficulties and obscurities is not only refuted by the above-given seven considerations, but is a superficial fallacy, based on ignorance of the Bible's nature and purpose. It presumes that the Bible is now intended for the whole world's understanding, whereas it is intended now for the variously graded understanding of the Lord's people according to their various standings and hearts' attitude before Him (Rev. 5: 1; 1 Cor. 2: 1-16; Mark 4: 11, 12). It is designed to be not only now not understood by people in general, but to be misunderstood by the unfaithful (Is. 28: 7-13). These designs are benevolent, since they are helpful to the faithful now under trial, enabling them to demonstrate and maintain their faithfulness, and to prevent the unfaithful from increasing their guilt, and thereby making their later reformation easier, if such repentance is possible, which is not the case with the utterly unfaithful (Heb. 6: 4-6; 10: 26-29). It is benevolent to the world, because, if they understood these mysteries, it would increase their present guilt and make their Millennial
trial harder. It is a mercy to the unbelief class that it cannot understand these mysteries; for that prevents any of them coming on trial now amid conditions under which none of them could overcome, and reserves them to their one trial for life in the Millennium, whose conditions will be conducive for all to gain life. Thus when we appreciate God's wise, just, loving and powerful designs in making the Bible, as an obscure book, difficult to be understood, the objection that an omniscient and inerrant Inspirer must make His written revelation clear and free from ambiguities and difficulties is seen to be both superficial and erroneous.
Some allege that mistakes and contradictions occur in the Bible; hence they reason that it is not inspired. They instance as mistakes matters like the following: That according to 2 Chro. 22: 2 Ahaziah was 42 years old when he began to reign, and according to 2 Kings 8: 26 he was 22, and according to the former he was older than his father (2 Chro. 21: 20); that the numbers in Ezra 2 and Neh. 7 are in some cases at variance with each other; etc. These and similar mistakes were not in the original copies as these came from God's hand. They arose from the mistakes of men who copied the Bible. Thus in 2 Chro. 22: 2 a copyist, trusting a faulty memory instead of keeping his eye upon the text, put 42 instead of 22 into the text, which proves that Ahaziah's father was 18 years older than he was and not 2 years younger than he, as the mistaken copyist caused it to teach. Similarly, the discrepancies between the figures of Ezra and Nehemiah are due to copyists' mistakes. But be it noted that the Bible does not teach the inspiration of copyists and translators; but of itself, as it was written by God's direct penmen. Hence we stand not for the inspiration and inerrancy of present copies of the Bible in the original Hebrew and Greek, much less of Bible translations; but for the original manuscripts as these came from God.
As for alleged contradictions in the Scriptures, we would say, There are none there. What are alleged as
such are due to the allegers' lack of understanding, e.g., they allege that Luke contradicts Paul when the former says that Paul's companions heard Jesus' voice (Acts 9: 7) and the latter said they heard not his voice (Acts 22: 9). To this we reply, The word to hear means at least three things in the Bible: (1) to take in sound by the physical ear, the ordinary meaning of the word, (2) to take in the sense of words by the mental ear, i.e., to understand, and (3) to obey. In Acts 9: 7 to take in sound by the physical ear is meant; and in Acts 22: 9 to take in the sense of words by the mental ear, to understand, is meant. Luke, therefore, tells us that they heard Jesus' voice speaking, and Paul tells us that they did not understand what His voice said. Very often in the Bible this second sense of this word occurs, e.g., Matt. 13: 15, 16; Mark 4: 9, 12; Rev. 2: 7, 11, 17, 29, etc. The difference in the accounts of the four evangelists' records of events of Jesus' life and His sayings are alleged as contradictions. But most of these are accountable as arising out of the different purposes that the evangelists had in writing, and the different features of the events that most impressed them individually, as two of them (Matthew and John) saw them, and as Peter told Mark, and Paul told Luke. Judge Greenleaf, one of the ablest jurists that America has produced, an especially able authority on legal evidence, drew up a harmony of the four Gospels and stated that the four evangelists in their records stood successfully the test of the strictest demands of the rules of legal evidence.
Some have thought that the variant readings in the Greek and Hebrew MSS. of the Bible nullify the doctrine of inspiration. In reply we will, in the first place, quote what Westcott and Hort, two of the ablest critics of the Greek text of the New Testament, say on these variant readings: "With regard to the great bulk of the words of the New Testament, as of most other ancient writings, there is no variation or other ground of doubt and, therefore, no room for textual criticism; and here, therefore, an editor is merely a transcriber. The same
may be said with substantial truth respecting those various readings which never have been received and in all probability never will be received into any printed text. The proportion of words virtually accepted on all hands as raised above doubt is very great, not less, on a rough computation, than ⅞ of the whole. The remaining ⅛, therefore, formed in great part of changes of order and other comparative trivialities [e.g., differences in spelling, interchange of synonyms, etc.], constitute the whole area of criticism. If the principles followed in the present edition are sound, this area may be greatly reduced. Recognizing to the full the duty of abstinence from preemptory decision in cases where the evidence leaves the judgment in suspense between two or more readings, we find that, setting aside differences of orthography, the words in our opinion still subject to doubt make up only 1/60 of the whole New Testament. In this second estimate [that concerning the 1/60] the proportion of comparatively trivial variations is beyond measure larger than the former; so that the amount of what can in any sense be called substantial variation is but a small fraction of the whole residuary variation, and can hardly form more than 1/1000 part of the entire text"— The New Testament in Greek, Vol. II, 2. This quotation shows that the variant readings, though considerable in number, are in point of weight not consequential. Secondly, we reply to this objection that as a matter of fact there is not one doctrine or one teaching of ethics nullified by them, since such are abundantly proved by other undoubted passages. Thirdly, Biblical numerics is greatly reducing these variants, e.g., Westcott and Hort give 16 passages that they mark as interpolations; but 14 of them are by Biblical numerics proved to be genuine. Biblical numerics is continually eliminating uncertainty as to which of two or more readings is genuine, and what are interpolations and what are genuine; and before long we will, if not wholly by Biblical numerics, by the returned Bible's writers, have the genuine text restored
to its original purity. Hence the objection here considered falls to the ground.
Some object that the traditional teachings of the Churches, the creeds set forth as the teachings of the Bible, are, in not a few cases, so unreasonable and devilish as certainly not to be accepted as emanating from an inspired source. They assert further that since all the creeds base their views on the Bible it cannot be inspired, since such based creeds conflict each with itself and all with one another. We agree that many things taught in denominational creeds are unreasonable and devilish, and cannot, therefore, have emanated from an inspired source, e.g., how could there have emanated from an inspired source such unreasonable and self-contradictory things as the trinity implying that three times one=one!; human immortality, implying that God having so created man cannot destroy him, however desirable the destruction of the incorrigibly wicked is; eternal torment which blasphemes God, violates His character, denies the ransom, undermines godliness and makes infidels; absolute predestination, implying without regard to character that God coerces some few to be saved and the bulk to be lost in eternal torment; and many other unreasonable and self-contradictory doctrines? But from this creedal unreasonableness and devilishness, the objector draws a false conclusion, i.e., that these unreasonable and devilish teachings emanate from the Bible. They emanate from Satan, the enemy of God, who, to blaspheme God, alleges them to be Bible teachings. What if he does quote Scripture in alleged proof of them as coming from the Bible? Are not such Scriptures misapplied by him, even as he misapplied Scriptures when tempting our Lord in the wilderness? And does he not misapply Scripture when seeking to mislead us? The Bible is, indeed, a book which has been used to teach many errors; but this is due to misapplications made of it. It is said that it is like a fiddle on which one can play any tune desired; while this is
true, it is not true that one can make it play any desired tune harmoniously with a true use of its passages and teachings. The creeds in their errors—all unreasonable and devilish in some way or other—do not emanate from the Bible harmonious with itself, with all its passages and doctrines, with God's character, Christ's ransom, facts and its purpose. Hence in their unreasonable, erroneous and devilish features, they do not emanate from the Bible, but from Satan's perversions of the Bible. Hence their teaching unreasonable, erroneous and devilish things does not at all nullify inspiration.
Similarly, this contradicting, each one itself and all of them one another, does not in the slightest impinge against inspiration. That the creeds contradict, each itself, is manifest on all hands, e.g., those that teach eternal torment and absolute predestination of the few to bliss and of the many to eternal torment, in the next breath teach that God is wise, just and loving, which qualities are certainly in violent contradiction to such doctrines. Again, take the Baptist teaching that claims that no one can enter the church without immersion nor be saved outside the church; yet Baptist teaching holds that unimmersed members of other churches are saved. That the creeds contradict one another is evident on all sides: The unitarian creeds contradict the trinitarian creeds on many points, e.g., the trinity, God-manism, etc.; the Lutheran creed conflicts with the Romanist and Calvinist creeds on many points. But what have these contradictions to do with the Bible's inspiration? They do not affect it at all. It is true that it proves that on many subjects the Bible is not clear to all, and that if a truth of the Bible is not due, no one, least of all the unconsecrated, can understand it, and that when due even the only measurably faithful cannot understand it, as it also proves that Satan misrepresents, through deceivelings, its teachings; but it does not in the slightest impinge against the Bible's inspiration. In fact it corroborates inspiration from one standpoint, i.e., keeping in mind