Thy Words were found and I did eat them; and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart. Jeremiah 15:16
The Autographs And Canonicity
The Claims of Christ
On the mountain in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-20), the Lord Jesus in anticipation of Pentecost, the beginning of the Church, gathered around Him particularly those men whose ministry was to be the doctrinal foundation of the Church (Ephesians 2:20), and claimed to have absolute authority in Heaven and on earth. He then gave to these men, the apostles, instructions: first, to make disciples; second, to then baptize these disciples; and third, to teach them all things that He, the Lord, commanded. These instructions were followed by His promise, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (age).”
The Extent of His Authority
In 1 Corinthians 15:27, the full extent of Christ’s authority is clearly demonstrated. He claimed in Matthew 28:18 to have all authority in Heaven and in earth. Here in 1 Corinthians 15:27, so universal is that authority that there is only one exception, and that is God who according to Psalm 8 put all things under man (the first Adam). Since the first Adam failed, this can be true only of the Last Adam, even Christ.
So great is the absolute authority of Christ in His work of redemption that He wields it until all enemies are completely defeated, even the last enemy, death.
Christ having thus brought all things into subjection, His comprehensive work of redemption is complete, His work of Mediator is done; He, therefore, as Redeemer, as Mediator, surrenders His office; it is not longer necessary.
The subjection of Christ is not that of a subject before a sovereign, but as One fully accredited and authorized, on completing the great work of redemption, He yields His authority and power. This He does that a Triune God might be all in all. In the Godhead no One is inferior to the Others and no One is superior to the Others; All are equal.
When the work of redemption is consummated, God in His Triunity will rule all and possess all.
Christian evidences are to be understood as the proofs of Christianity, its veracity, reality, and factuality. Christianity is Christ; that is, everything about Christ, His divine person, His reconciliatory work, His redemptive purposes; these form the faith once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3). Inasmuch as the faith, Christianity, is depreciated and at times denounced by the wisdom of this world (1 Corinthians 2:4-8), Christian evidences are a defence against the enemy.
The actual purposes of Christian evidences may be considered as reaching out in three directions:
Toward Christianity itself: Christian evidences attempt to defend every biblical doctrine against perversion and denial. They endeavour to prove the factuality of the divine nature of Christ, His virgin birth, His impeccable humanity, His vicarious death, His physical resurrection, etc. etc.
Toward the believer: Christian evidences confirm the faith of the child of God. What the believer receives by faith and inwardly experiences, he realizes is true and factual as he examines the proofs.
Toward the unbeliever: When presented to an honest man, Christian evidences may rid his mind of prejudices, misunderstandings and even errors, as these relate to biblical doctrine.
What possible and systematic way may evidences for the support of the faith be gathered? A step by step flexible procedure may be used; as for example:
The acceptance of divine revelation: The wisdom of this world reasons that proofs of reality lead to acceptance; the Christian accepts each tenet of the faith as real and then learns that these are substantiated by proofs. The starting point for the Christian is altogether different from that of the unbeliever. The Lord Jesus said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but (that) of Him that sent Me. If any one desire to practise His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine whether it is of God, or (that) I speak from Myself” (John 7:17, J.N.D.). There must for the Christian be an acceptance of the divine will before the knowledge of facts is revealed by the Lord.
Personal experience: While experience does not save the soul, it is Christ who saves, it may confirm the faith of the believer. Answers from God to specific prayers are confirmatory experiences (John 15:7). The receiving from God of unusual wisdom when confronted by a dilemma is another confirmatory experience (James 1:5). The peace of Christ within the heart at the time of some crisis verifies faith (Colossians 3:15; Philippians 4:7). Trials in individual life may be considered the proofs of the fatherhood of God and the sonship of the believer (Hebrews 12:5-11). Personal experiences provide the child of God with evidences as to the existence of God and His care for the redeemed.
Appraising the issue: Before the solution to any biblical difficulty can be found, the difficulty must be thoroughly understood. If the difficulty is the denial of some cardinal truth in the Christian faith, every aspect of the problem must be examined. Take for example the origin of man. This is not actually a biblical problem, but one that has made for himself.
By many the problem is reduced to one single term, evolution. Is evolution really the problem? No. This is only man’s attempt to solve his self-imposed difficulty.
The real problem lies in man’s disbelief in God and His Word; man’s refusal to believe the Genesis account of his own origin. Man disbelieves God and His creative genius, consequently, he must of himself invent a theory to cover the origin of the human race.
A close examination breaks this problem down into at least two parts; first, disbelief of God’s record of the origin of mankind; second, man’s attempt to invent an explanation of his own.
Before evidences which verify the Christian faith can be gathered, difficulties, real and imaginary, must be examined carefully and thoroughly understood.
Solving the problem: In order to determine the true character of any matter, it must be tested by various means; difficulties in regard to the Christian faith are no exemptions to this rule. All problems in connection with the Christian faith should be tested by revelation, reason, reference, and experimentation.
By revelation: The Christian should examine every difficulty he encounters in the light of the Word of God. Evolution explains man’s origin as the result of spontaneous generation, but the Bible explains it as the result of divine creation. Attempts have been made to harmonize these by assuming that God does not tell how He created man but only why. Actually it is impossible to harmonize for divine generation, creation, ascribes the power and the purpose of human origin to God; whereas, spontaneous generation eliminates God altogether; He has nothing to do with man’s origin, it just happened.
By reason: At the beginning God made man after His own image; that is, He made him what He Himself is, a rational being. It is well that man use the powers of reason that were given him by God. The theory of evolution is stated by its adherents as a fact; one adherent writes; “Millions of years ago lifeless matter acted upon by natural forces gave origin to one or more minute living organisms which since have evolved into all living and extinct plants and animals including man.”
A test by reason asks if it is reasonable to start with the inanimate and end up with the animate? Is it logical to commence with nothing and end up with something? Is it possible to begin with sterility and terminate with fertility? Is a theory reasonable that makes such claims? It is not.
Is the Genesis account of man’s creation reasonable? Yes. Is it reasonable to accept that the living God, all powerful and wise, should create a rational being with whom He might commune? Yes, this is most reasonable. God being what He is, we expect nothing less.
By reference: It is improper to test any unbiblical theory, any man-imposed problem in regard to the Christian faith, by one’s powers alone. One should ascertain through books, tracts, pamphlets, lectures, etc., the explanations of others, the solutions that others have discovered.
In this regard a word of caution is necessary. It is impossible to read everything that appears in print, one must choose only the best. If one wants to know the Christian approach to the theory of evolution, or the supernatural element in the Bible, or the difficulties relative to the virgin birth of Christ, he should read only books by those who are competent to write on each of these important subjects, writers accredited to write in their own special fields. All Christians should be ready to contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 3), but some are better equipped to defend specific areas better than are others.
By experimentation: A theory is only a theory until by actual experiment it is demonstrated to be a fact. We are told that water is composed of one atomic weight of oxygen and two atomic weights of hydrogen. This may be proved a fact by the simple experiment of burning hydrogen gas in the air. The high percentage of oxygen in the air unites with the hydrogen forming water which may be condensed on a watch glass.
Can the theory of evolution be thus tested? Can some scientist take a little portion of jelly and place it under different types of energy until he finds the right one, and then patiently watch and wait for millions of years to see life being thus produced? The energy-time element in such an experiment makes this absolutely impossible.
The theory of evolution obviously is beyond experimentation and cannot be proved a fact. Consequently it is unscientific to accept it as anything more than a theory. Since it is unbiblical and contrary to the whole tenor of the Word of God, the Christian position is one of rejection.
The method of testing suggested in this lesson should be tried upon different examples to make sure that they are practical and convincing. Two at least might be used, the creation of the human spirit, and the inspiration of the Bible.
The human spirit: Modern psychology teaches that man is a three-dimentional personality; that is, he is mental, emotional, and physical. Man has a physical body in which he lives, he has emotions which may be stirred or allayed, and he has a mind with the power to reason. If this concept is all the truth and the only truth, then when man dies, he dies like an animal.
The Christian should take this definition of human personality and test it as has been suggested by revelation, by reason, by reference, and by experimentation.
Tested by revelation: In turning to the Word of God we find that it goes beyond the limited concept of human personality and that actually man is a four dimentional creature; he is physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Man has a body in which he lives, emotions which may be stimulated, a mind with the powers of reason, and a spirit that makes him distinct from all other earth creatures, a spirit that links him to the Great Spirit Being who created him. Appendix no. I
When the modern concept of human personality is tested by divine revelation in the Bible, it is found to be deficient.
Tested by reason: It might be asked, is it reasonable that God, in bringing order out of chaos in the centre of this particular universe, would create one being separate, distinct, and above all the other earth-creatures? Yes, it is for His intention was that this one be ruler over all other creatures on earth. It is to be expected that in creating this being, that this being be transcendent to all others. If man is to govern the earth, he must be above it not only in position but in nature.
Is it reasonable that God in creating man distinct from and superior to all other earth-creatures, and in placing him as governor over all, give to him a nature suitable for both earth and Heaven, both time and Eternity, a nature that makes it possible for him to contact every earth-bound creature, and yet, at the same time, make contact with their Creator and Sovereign? Yes, it is reasonable for if man is to rule God’s creation, he must have a nature that links him with the Creator and His creation. The particular part of man’s nature that links him with God, in the Bible and among men is called the spirit (Ecclesiastes 12:7).