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    July 15, 1881

    “Was the Bible Inspired?” The Signs of the Times, 7, 28.

    E. J. Waggoner

    A few years ago, any one who manifested any doubt as to the Inspiration of the whole of the Bible, would have been set down at once as an infidel. Now, however, professed Christians and ministers in good standing and high repute, not only express doubts, but openly avow their disbelief in the inspiration of different positions of the Bible. This, although as deserving of the name “infidelity” as ever, is termed “liberality,” and is extolled as a product of the advanced thought of the nineteenth century.SITI July 15, 1881, page 331.1

    The following, from the Christian Union, in answer to the question, “Do you believe the account of the creation and the fall of man, as given in the Bible?” is a very fair specimen of what may be termed “religious infidelity”:-SITI July 15, 1881, page 331.2

    “There is no claim made by Moses, and none made for him by any other writer in the Bible, that the account of the creation and the fall of man, as given in the first chapters of Genesis, was a revelation from God to Moses. In the absence of any such claim, we see no reason why the church or the theologian should make it for him. The presumption is that he obtained his facts as other historians obtain theirs; that is, that his history of the events prior to his own time was compiled from an acquaintance with the traditions of his age, and this presumption is confirmed by parallel and analogous traditions recently discovered in other very ancient Assyrian writers. The essential truths in the first chapters of Genesis are the religious truths, and these are unaffected by the question whether the story is to be regarded as purely historical or partially allegorical and parabolic.”SITI July 15, 1881, page 331.3

    To prove that it is no injustice to call such teaching as this infidelity, it will be necessary to show that it really strikes at the whole Bible. This is the case, as can easily be shown.SITI July 15, 1881, page 331.4

    There are only two ways in which Moses could have received the account of the creation and the fall of man, as recorded in Genesis, chapters 1-3. One is by revelation from God, the other is the way suggested above, namely, by tradition. Now if the latter is the case, the credibility of all of Moses’ writings is destroyed, for no one will place any confidence in an author’s narrative, if he himself should give evidence of his credulity on the very start, by telling as a fact what is manifestly absurd. There is nothing in the narrative to lead one to suppose that Moses had any doubts as to its authenticity. The account of the exodus of the children of Israel which occurred under Moses’ direct supervision, is in no more positive terms than is the history of the creation. If this be not true, then the whole of Genesis is discredited, for Moses knew nothing of the events personally.SITI July 15, 1881, page 331.5

    Supposing then, with the Christian Union, that Moses was deceived, and that what he wrote as facts never occurred, what effect does it have on the rest of the Bible?SITI July 15, 1881, page 331.6

    The ten commandments are universally recognized by Christians as embodying all the principles of right, as the foundation of all law, and as emanating from God himself. The Bible teaches this. Now the fourth commandment depends entirely upon the narrative of creation as recorded in Genesis. It is just as reliable as the first chapter of Genesis and no more so. The author of the one must be the author of the other.SITI July 15, 1881, page 331.7

    The only reason given for its observance is that “in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is.”SITI July 15, 1881, page 331.8

    If God is the author of the fourth commandment, then the reliability of the Mosaic account of creation is attested; and, on the contrary, if the first and second chapters of Genesis are not true, then the fourth commandment, and all the other commandments are a forgery, for they purport to come from God himself. Thus we see that not only the reliability of Moses’ writings, but also the whole system of morality and religion, depends on the correctness of the Scripture record of creation.SITI July 15, 1881, page 332.1

    Of course, then, none of Moses’ writings can be accepted, for whether we say that Moses was himself deceived, or willfully deceived others, he would manifestly be an unsafe guide.SITI July 15, 1881, page 332.2

    But let us go still farther. Throughout the Bible we have continual reference to the books of Moses either as a whole or in part. We will notice only a few, for they are almost innumerable. In 2 Chronicles, in Nehemiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, especially, we have it stated that God brought calamities upon the Jews for their violation of the Sabbath. Nehemiah states expressly that God spoke through Moses. Nehemiah 9:13, 14. In the Psalms, the reference to the law are in nearly every chapter, the 19th and 119th being especially prominent instances. The 8th, 33rd, and 136th Psalms make special mention of the creation as given in Genesis. In short, it is an undisputed fact that all the Old Testament writers placed implicit confidence in the writings of Moses. But if Moses, through lack of inspiration, fell into error, and recorded absurdities, none of the writers who quote him, or base arguments on his statements, can have been inspired. Had God prompted them in their utterances, he would not have allowed them to follow one who willfully deceived, or wrote from mere hearsay. Therefore we must place a large portion if not the whole of the Old Testament in the same category with the writings of Moses.SITI July 15, 1881, page 332.3

    But this is not the only result of discrediting Moses’ writings. The New Testament writers make frequent references to Moses, and all quote him as authority. Paul quotes him more than any other, and in his second epistle to Timothy he commended him for his knowledge of the Scriptures, said they were able to make him wise unto salvation, and actually claimed that they were given by inspiration of God. The Old Testament Scriptures are here referred to, for none of the New had been written when Timothy was a child. Paul also makes special mention of the fall of man, showing that he believed it implicitly. Of course, then, Paul derived his knowledge from the same sources that other historians did theirs, namely, tradition. But above all, Jesus Christ himself testifies as to the validity of Moses’ writings, for in Luke 16 he says that “Moses and the prophets” are sufficient, if heeded, to keep one from eternal destruction. And in John 5:45-47 he makes the faith of the Jews in Moses a test of their belief in him. Certainly the testimony of Christ should at once dispel every doubt from the heart or head of a professed Christian.SITI July 15, 1881, page 332.4

    Those, therefore, who disbelieve the Mosaic account of the creation, must necessarily take one of two positions, as follows: 1. Moses was an honest but extremely credulous man, who accepted all tradition as truth, without raising a question in regard to it, and the other writers of the Bible, equally simple-minded, followed him blindly; or, 2. Moses was an imposter like Mahomet, who willfully deceived the people for his own selfish purposes, and all the other Bible writers, and Christ himself, leagued together to perpetrate the imposition. The first is highly improbable, the second absolutely impossible, and both are blasphemous.SITI July 15, 1881, page 332.5

    One important step in our investigation is now reached, and that is, that the whole Bible is so closely linked together that if a part of it is false, the whole is unreliable, and if a part is given by inspiration of God, the whole is likewise a revelation from the same source.SITI July 15, 1881, page 332.6

    It must not be supposed that those, at least many of them, who thus lightly esteem the writings of Moses, realize what important consequences their position involves. It would be well for them to consider whether or not they are willing to throw away the whole Bible.SITI July 15, 1881, page 332.7

    “Every word of God is pure; he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” Proverbs 30:5.SITI July 15, 1881, page 332.8

    “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” Deuteronomy 4:2.SITI July 15, 1881, page 332.9

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