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Is the Bible true?

Test the truth of the Bible by observing reality

See also What is Truth?


1. Defining Truth


First, let's try and define truth. Take for instance the Copernican Principle. This essentially states:

"The Earth, and the life it sustains exists without purpose in the Universe"

This appears to state an absolute truth - something that is always valid, everywhere. We might also see it as an objective truth - a truth that does not depend on a human being or on humanity no matter what man believes. But is the statement really true? How can we test if it's true? Indeed, does 'absolute truth' even exist (Plato believed it does)? Before we look at how we can test the truth of a statement, let us see what different worldviews say about truth:

  • Christianity: There exists universal objective truth i.e. that applies for all people, everywhere, at all times. This is sometimes also referred to as absolute truth and it can be seen in the teachings of Jesus Christ (who claims to be the source of truth). Today, such truth is revealed by the "Spirit of truth" - the Holy Spirit. Christianity also teaches that the Bible is inspired by God and so is also 'true'.
  • Islam: God Himself has been mentioned in the Holy Qur'an as "The Truth", the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (God bless him!) as the "Bearer of Truth", the Qur'an itself as "the Truth", and the abode of the righteous after death as the "Seat of Truth". Islamic philosophy also claims that "conformity with reality is sidq (veracity, truth)". Islam accepts that some Bible text contains truth.
  • New Age, Hinduism: The very idea of truth as a substantial and meaningful concept has come under attack from advocates of New Age theories. New Agers see truth as something which can't be stated in words, but which may be only experienced in the mind and the emotions. Truth is personal, beyond rational description and thought, an experience of unity with 'the oneness' of the universe.
  • Atheism: Atheism is characterized by an absence of belief in the existence of gods. So they do not look to Christianity for truth. Rather, atheists tend to define truth as reflecting reality in the world. Like scientists, atheists use evidence to find truth. They demand proof, or at least reasonable evidence, and simply reject whatever does not meet the basic requirements of common sense.
  • Postmodernism: Postmodernists tend to find the vague spirituality of New Ager's more appealing than the materialism of atheism. They say the world is a complex and uncertain place, so reality is not fixed and determined and there are no boundaries. Postmodernists celebrate this seemingly meaningless view of the world and for now they just need to know what works. So all truth is relative to an individual's worldview, and there is no final truth. In other words, there is no such thing as universal objective truth. A reasoning behind this claim is that it is not possible to know any true thought since all thoughts are language based and all language is contingent (subjective and lacks independance).
  • The others: Many do not claim any specific worldview, but they will probably hold to at least one of the following viewpoints on truth:
    Scepticism: - no one knows or can know what is true
    Relativism: - truth is relative to persons, times and circumstances
    Subjectivism: - only I can know what is true for me
    Pragmatism: - truth is what works

So how do we test for 'absolute truth'?

With difficulty! Some New Agers might say truth is not a meaningful concept, period. And many argue that absolute truth does not exist, only relative, tentative or culturally defined truth exists. But many will concede that a good test is to observe reality. This is the correspondence theory of truth i.e. the truths we hold actually correspond to the world as it really is. In the words of Cratylus 385 BC:

"That speech which says things as they are is true, and that which says them as they are not is false"

This test is also acceptable to many Christians and Muslims. So, to test for truth, which could in fact be absolute truth, we will adopt the following premise:

"A statement is true if it agrees with reality (knowledge or fact), or is logically correct, or both"

For example:

  • "Light travels faster than sound" is true since it is a scientific fact (it can be measured)
  • "6 is less than 7" is true since it is an arithmetic law
  • "The Roman Empire existed" is true since it is verified by history

We will use this approach in the following observations of the world - observations of reality. If the Bible says or predicts the same as reality, then we conclude that the Bible is speaking truth. If many observations agree with biblical statements then the case for arguing that the Bible is true is strengthened. For an in-depth study of truth see What is Truth?.


2. Observations on the World


We will now make five distinct and detailed observations on the world. In each case we will see that biblical statements (often prophecies) agree extremely well with observations - with reality. And so on the above perception of truth, the Bible must be speaking TRUTH.

Observation 1: Social Aspects

1.1 Increased lawlessness (Mat 24.12):

"Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold"

9/11 - worst ever act of terrorism

The 9/11 attack


9/11 was the worst ever act of terrorism.

Recorded annual offences in England and Wales: 1920: 0.1m , 1950: 0.5m , 1980: 2.5m , 2005: 10.8m [HO,BCS].

Total recorded crime in England and Wales in 2009 was about 5,000% above the 1900 level [NCRS].

Aggravated assult per 100,000 people in the USA: 1957: 60 , 1992: 440 [FBI].

For 2000-2009, terrorist attacks against Americans show over 900% increase on 1970-79 levels [infoplease.com].

Each day 135,000 American children bring a gun to school.

'Significant' terrorist attacks worldwide: 175 in 2003, 655 in 2005 [US government]


1.2 Increased knowledge and travel (Dan 12.4):

"(at) the end of time many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase"

Knowledge Increase:

Over the past 100 years or so we see an amazing increase in knowledge:

In technoloy: radio, motion pictures, recording, TV, telecommunications, cell phones, electron microscopes, computers, EFTPOS, nuclear power, solar power, fuel injection, planes, ....

In medical science: MRI scans, ultrasound, pacemakers, radiotherapy, IVF, artificial hearts, DNA, organ transplants, vaccines against major killers (typhoid, cholera, polio, smallpox)... The US saw a 14-fold reduction in death from infectious disease over the 20th century [University of Maryland].

In space science: rockets, satellites, spaceships, space stations, radio telescopes. NASA has developed technologies that benefit society in health and medicine, transportation, public safety, consumer goods, environmental and agricultural resources, computer technology and industrial productivity.


Inventions: US Patents: 1900-1920: 25,000 , 1995-1998: 150,000 [University of Maryland].


Boeing 737

Boeing 737. Image copyright: Copyright-free-photos

Travel Increase:

Annual air travel in the US: 1950: less than 100 miles/person, 1978: 1000 miles/person, 2000: 1500 miles/person.

100 years ago commercial air travel was unheard of; now there are typically 100,000 commercial flights each day!

Worldwide, air travel is projected to grow by 5% annually until 2015 [IPCC]. Aircraft fuel consumption: 130 million tonnes in 1992, increasing to 450 million tonnes by 2050.



Tourism is the world's largest industry: annual revenue of $500 billion, and is one of the major sources of foreign exchange in 83% of countries.

International tourism: 1950: 25m , 2003: 693m , 2020: 1.6 billion [WTO].

Car ownership in the US (% of population): 1900: 1%, 1997: 91%, 2008: 90%


1.3 World-wide trading (Rev 18.11-20):

"The merchants of the earth ... became rich"

Globalisation in terms of international trade probably started with the trading empires of Spain, Portugal, Britain and Holland.

Now telecommunications and the Internet support vigorous international trade.

Export growth in 2002: France: 8% , Germany: 8.8% , Japan: 15% [OECD].

Export growth in China: 500% since 1992 [ideas.repec.org]

Huge trans-national companies go for mega-profits, often at the expense of communities and individuals.

Policies that spawn economic inequality rather than free trade could bring about a global economic crash [Global Policy Forum]. See Rev 18.


1.4 False Christs (Mat 24.5,11):

"Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many"

Over the past 2000 years there have been dozens of people who have claimed to be the prophesied Christ, or a Messiah under the umbrella of Christianity. To name a few:

  • Aldebert (8th century)
  • Tanchelm of Antwerp (c1110)
  • Haile Selassie of Ethiopia (1892-1975)
  • Sun Myung Moon (born 1920)
  • Inri Cristo (born 1948)
  • David Koresh (1959-1993)

1.5 World-wide proclamation of the gospel (Mat 24.14):

"This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world ... and then the end will come"

The Bible describes End Time events

Over 4,500 languages still wait for even one book of the Bible to be translated. But parts of the Bible are now available in more than 2,400 languages, covering some 98% of the world's population. To help cover the remaining languages, in 2012 the Bible Society had more than 500 Bible translation projects under way with the potential to impact more than four billion people.

How is the Bible proclaimed? Besides conventional missionary activity, such as the Gideon Bible ministry to households and hotels, the gospel message is now proclaimed via:

  • Local AM and FM radio in towns and cities worldwide
  • International shortwave radio e.g. via HCJB and FEBC
  • Many satellite platforms carry Christian radio and TV (18 TV channels in the UK alone in 2012)
  • The Internet

Result in the Developing World:

During the 20th century there was a dramatic increase in the number of missionaries: 62,000 to over 400,000. Also during this time the number of Christians in Africa, Asia and Latin America increased ten-fold. In 1988 there were 18,000 people groups with insufficient numbers of Christians to remain strong without missionary assistance. This reduced to 1,700 groups by 1998.

Result in the Westernised World:

Anglican and Protestant denominations are stable in UK, Australia and Holland. Four out of five people say thay are affiliated in some way with organised religion (as opposed to no religious belief) [HO].

Result Worldwide:

People are giving their lives to Jesus at nearly 1 million/week. There are now some 2.1 billion Christians in the world. When it comes to broadcasting technology, practically the whole planet is covered by radio or television, either via terrestrial means or via satellite and the Internet. This means the gospel can be proclaimed to over 99% of the world. Couple this with the fact that the Bible is available in whole or in part to some 98% of the world's population in a language in which they are fluent, then the 'preaching of the gospel to the whole world' (Mat 24.14) is almost complete!

[Does this mean nearly everyone has heard the gospel? No. Not everyone has the means to receive radio or TV programs and not everyone has the Internet. So there are still many who haven't heard the gospel, and in many countries the gospel is actually banned. As of 2011 there were 2.84 billion people still unreached with the gospel [Joshua Project]. In other words, over 40% of the world's population still needed to hear the gospel.]

1.6 Persecution of Christians [Lk 21.12-19]:

"They will lay their hands on you and will persecute you"

The 10-40 Window:

Although Christians have been persecuted for 2,000 years, they are now the most persecuted religious group in the world [Focus on the Family]. Some 26 million Christians were martyred during the 20th century - more than the combined total of all previous centuries. Today much of the persecution occurs in the 10-40 window (from West Africa and across Asia) where religious liberty is restricted. There are 1.6 billion Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists living in this window, and in some countries the Church has almost been eliminated as a result of Islamic oppression.


Westernised Nations:

A more subtle form of persecution is now occurring in secular Europe due to EU Equality Directives - which are void of morality. In the UK for example, Christians are losing employment under Equality Law for simply holding to their Christian ethos or for simple, low-profile Christian witness. And in the USA, persecution is growing via the media, entertainment industry, educational authorities, and even the police.


Eamples worldwide:

  • 1998: 500 Christian churches burned down in Java.
  • 2000: 800 homes and stores owned by Christians destroyed in Poso, Central Sulawesi.
  • 2005: 175,000 Christians were martyred worldwide [Int. Journal of Missionary Research].
  • 2008: 200 million Christians worldwide in danger of being tortured, persecuted, or killed [Idea, EA].
  • 2010: Nigerian Christians suffered terror from Muslim extremists. Whole village massacred
  • In China, 60-100 million risk their lives and liberty to worship in underground house churches [Focus on the Family].

Bible prophecy accurately describes our end-time society.
It describes reality - the Bible is speaking truth


Observation 2: World Environment

The Bible gives an accurate (true) picture of environmental and climatic conditions at the end of this age (see also Is God Changing Our Climate?):

2.1 Increased Pollution (Isa 24.5):

"The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants"

The above image shows worldwide carbon monoxide pollution (in 2004, fires in Alaska caused increased pollution in the northern hemisphere). Besides burning, air pollution arises from power plants, heavy industry and vehicles. Other satellite sensors show high distributions of nitrogen dioxide over N. America, Europe, China, S.E. Asia and Africa [ESA]. In the UK, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide emmissions from 30 million vehicles is a major problem. Air pollution fatalities now exceed traffic fatalities 3:1 [Earth Policy Institute]. The view from space is becoming marred by smoke and dust [NASA]. Mercury pollution (from coal-fired power stations is a huge threat to health [UN].

1984: the Bhopal disaster in India was the world's worst chemical disaster. Today in Bhopal, more than 100,000 people remain chronically ill.

1986: an area some 80 km x 80 km around the Chernobyl nuclear plant is still an exclusion zone due to soil pollution by Caesium 137.

2011: contamination from the Fukushima nuclear disaster affected an area nearly as big as Cyprus and included some 6,500 villages. Water samples from the Western Pacific region show radioactive Caesium 137 and 134, as well as Strontium 90.


2.2 Increased Temperature (Isa 24.6, Rev 16.8,9,21):

"The inhabitants of the earth are burned ... men were scorched with fierce heat"

"Climate change is the most severe problem that we are facing today" [Sir David King, UK Government Chief Scientific Advisor]

Whilst this statement is based on disputed IPCC data the fact remains that over the last century the climate warmed significantly.

Mean world temperature (deg C): 1880: 13.8 , 2000: 14.4 , 2100: 16-19 ? [TIME].

Global warming amounted to 0.8C over the past century [NASA].

2010 surface temperature anomalies were the warmest (along with 2005) on record.


2.3 Increased Storm Activity (Lk 21.5):

"There will be ... dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves"

Increased temperature brings increased storm severity. Hurricane forecast models indicate a tendency for more intense hurricanes. This is due to increased energy obtained from warmer seas [RealClimate].

Since the 1970's there has been a marked increase in the intensity and duration of tropical storms, including North American hurricanes. The number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes has nearly doubled since 1970 [MIT].

Sea level rise could be 1m by 2100 [Nat. Geographic].


2.4 Increased Drought (Isa 24.1-4):

"The earth mourns and withers, the world fades and withers"

The area of the earth's surface affected by drought has more than doubled since the 1970's [Nat. Geographic].

Lake Chad in Africa has shrunk to 5% of its size in the 1960's [Nat. Geographic]

Partly due to over-exploitation of groundwater, water tables are falling on every continent: 1.5m/yr in China, 1-3m/yr in India.

New wells for Beijing now have to reach 1,000 meters [Executive Intelligence Review].

Two out of every three people will be short of water by 2025 [WWI & Tearfund].

Increased aridity may be an natural response to climate warming [The Earth Institue].


Bible prophecy accurately describes today's environment
- the Bible is speaking truth


Observation 3: World Government

The Old Testament of the Bible mentions four specifc empires that would reign over Israel (Dan 7.1-8). These are the historic Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman empires. But the fourth empire is also in existence at the end of this age (Dan 2.34,44).

The New Testament confirms this by referring to seven major empires or kingdoms (Rev 17.10). These can be identified as the Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman empires, with one empire to come. Taken with Dan 2, this suggests the one to come must be a revived form of the historic Roman Empire. Moreover, this final world empire will be in alliance with ten other world regional authorities (Rev 17.12,13) and will probably embrace a corrupt church (Rev 17). As an expansion of historic Rome, this final empire will be brutal and powerful, devouring and crushing the whole world (Dan 7.23).

The emerging EU army

The emerging EU army

A Roman revival and 'Christianised' empire has been at the heart of Europe's leaders and aristocracy for well over 1,000 years. Constantine I 'Christianised' the Roman Empire in 313 AD. Charlemange was crowned 'Emperor of the Romans' in 800 AD; Otto the Great was crowned 'Holy Roman Emperor in 962 AD; Emperor Charles V (1519-1556) pursued the concept of a unified Christian Empire, and Mussolini declared the resurrection of the old Roman Empire in 1936. Today, noble European families (such as the Habsburgs) see a future Holy Roman Empire, and the European Union (EU) has many of the characteristics of a 'revived Roman Empire':


  • The EU flag (12 gold stars on a blue background) was inspired by the halo of stars around pictures of the Virgin Mary in Strasbourg Cathedral
  • The EU essentially embraces the geographic region of the historic Roman Empire
  • The EU uses the 'Europa and the bull' symbol - which correlates well with the 'woman on the beast' in Rev 17
  • The EU Parliament building in Strasbourg is modelled on the unfinished tower of Babel in Gen 11
  • The EU Constitution is essentially pagan (as was Rome), with the word 'God' omitted
  • The EU has progressively removed power from member governments and EU law is now dominant in many areas of life
  • The EU Maastricht Treaty forced all citizens of member countries to become citizens of the EU (with consequent obligations)
  • The EU is creating a 60,000 strong European army, independent of NATO. This is co-ordinated by the European Defence Agency based in Brussels
  • The EU is emerging as a powerful trading block to rival America. It will have its own space programme and satellites (the Galileo Project)
  • The EU probably has computer systems to monitor and control every individual in Europe
  • The EU identifies ten world regions, from North America to Australia and the Pacific. The EU and the USA established diplomatic relations as early as 1953, and the EU and Australia formed a Partnership Framework in 2008.

One of the most interesting prophecies is found in Dan 2.43:

"They will combine with one another ... but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with clay"

This refers to the divisions within the final world empire; the iron makes it strong and crushing, but the clay makes it brittle and weak. It is a good picture of the EU! Whilst member states combine, they certainly do not adhere, and according to the prophecy, they will never adhere.

The strength is seen in another prophecy referring to a world dictatorship:

"... and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him." (Rev 13.7)

Note that the end-time world empire will "crush the whole world" (Dan 7.23). Democracy will be a thing of the past. It is interesting to observe that the EU is removing democracy and imposing law generated by unelected Commissioners. The European Parliament has voted for a system of corpus juris that does away with the more democratic system of habeas corpus, jury trials and the presumption of innocence in criminal cases. Continental law allows citizens to be imprisoned for long periods without the need to produce evidence! [EuroFAQ].

The world is looking for a 'New World Order' or 'One World Government'. Leaders such as Winston Churchill, Jimmy Carter, Gorbachev, George Bush, and George W. Bush have all called for a New World Order. Even the World Council of Churches is looking for "an international order of justice and peace". The EU could be the seed for this final world empire, as it forms an alliance with other world governments. Further information at World Government.

3.1 An Apostate World Church:

The book of Revelation points to both a World Government (Rev 18) and a World Church (Rev 17). Initially at least, the secular World Government will be controlled by the World Church and this is symbolised by a woman riding a beast (Rev 17.3). Detailed study suggests that this apostate church is headed by the Vatican.

Bible prophecy accurately describes today's political scenario
- the Bible is speaking truth


Observation 4: Electronic ID for Trading

  • Cards: Cashless transactions via magnetic-stripe cards were introduced in the 1980's. This period saw the deveopment of debit-card-based transactions using electronic funds transfer (at) point of sale (EFTPOS). Even then it was foreseen that smartcards with chip technology would replace the simple magnetic-stripe card. Today 'chip and PIN' cards are used in the UK
  • Biometrics: Cards can be lost or stolen and a way of avoiding this is to link a person's identity to their physical characteristics (Biometrics). A favoured technique is fingerprint identification, but other biometric techniques are facial recognition, hand recognition, and iris recognition. Biometric iris recognition is becoming widespread and measures the physical iris patterns unique to a person. Biometric techniques are being introduced at airports. Whilst the International Biometrics Group envisage annual biometric revenue to be $10 billion by 2014, biometric techniques are not 100% accurate. Clearly, a method of identifying each person by number, possibly backed up by biometrics, seems less prone to error.
  • RFID: A seemingly attractive trading system would be to number each individual and then detect their number remotely when automatic payment is required. Current technology uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips.
    An RFID chip

    An electronic RFID 'tag'.
    It is the size of a grain of rice
    and is human implantable.

    These low-cost chips (the size of a grain of rice) are used to tag animals, but they could also be embedded in people. A scanner energises the chip, which then returns a radio signal containing the person's ID number, which in turn is fed to a computer database. An example of this technology was 'VeriChip' from Applied Digital Solutions. Its marketing was discontinued in 2010, possibly for privacy, health and social reasons (the ability to remotely scan personal data could be a security risk). The most suitable location on a human being would be in the hand or forehead. Clearly, this technology is only a short step from the technology described in Revelation:
"And he causes all ... to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead ... and no one will be able to buy or sell, except the one who has the mark ..." (Rev 13.16,17)

Bible prophecy predicts electronic ID for trading
- the Bible is speaking truth


Observation 5: Israel

By 586 BC the whole of the nation of Israel (all twelve tribes) had been exiled and scattered amongst the nations (see also Israel). But the Bible predicts that one day Israel will return to her promised land:

  • In the last days, Israel will be gathered from many nations, from the north, south, east and west (Isa 43.6)(Ps 107.3)
  • Israel will be placed in her own land (Ezek 37.12,14)
  • Jerusalem will be placed under Jewish rule (Lk 21.24)
The western wall in Jerusalem

Western Wall, Jerusalem. Copyright: Free Photos


This has been born out in recent history:

1882: first wave of emigration (first 'Aliyah or ascent) to Palestine, particularly from Russia and Romania

1917: General Allenby liberated Jerusalem from the Turks, giving Jews access to the city

1948: State of Israel established, David Ben Gurion became the first Prime Minister

1950: Law of return passed by Israel's Parliament - opening Israel to Jews from over 60 countries

1967: Jersualem came under Jewish rule

Population: 1900: 0.5m, 1958: 2m, 1983: 4m, 2012: 7.8m (a 1500% increase since 1900)


The Bible also predicts that:

  • Israel will have increasing wealth and prosperity (Isa 60.5,17)
  • Israel will blossom and sprout and fill the whole world with fruit (Isa 27.6)
  • Israel will have God's protection (Isa 54.15-17)(Zech 2.5,8)
Old City of Jerusalem

Old City of Jerusalem Free Israel Photos

This too has been born out in recent history:

Between 1958 and 1965 Israel's mean annual growth rate reached 13.6%. Today, Israel is particularly advanced in hi-tech industries such as computer science, electronics, genetics, medicine, optics and solar energy. She mines natural gas, potash, magnesium, copper, gold and phosphates. In terms of infrastructure, she has highly developed banking, health, and University systems. Between 1990 and 2000 Israel's forest area increased by +61%, compared to a world change of -2% [Earth Trends 2003]. Israel's agriculture produces apples, pears, peaches, apricots, bananas, mangoes, dates, olives, grapes etc., and produced 571,000 tons of fruit in 1997. And it is well known that Israel has a powerful, technically advanced defence force. In May 1967 the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon (with Iraq as collaborator) declared the end of Israel. Israel defeated them in 6 days with inferior aircraft and tanks. Major attacks on Israel (1948, 1967) ended with Israel gaining more land.

Finally, it is also well known that Israel is hated by her neighbours:

"The battle has come in which we shall destroy Israel" [President of Egypt, 1967]
"Our goal is clear - to wipe Israel off the map" [President of Iraq, 1967]
"Israel should be eliminated from the pages of history" [President of Iran, 2006]
"Israel is a cancerous tumour that should be cut and will be cut" [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 2012]

The Bible also predicts this hatred:

"I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem ..." (Zech 14.2)(Ps 83)

Bible prophecy predicts Israel's restoration in the last days
- the Bible is speaking truth


Conclusion

At the end of the age the Bible predicts:

  • Increased lawlessness
  • Increased knowledge and travel
  • Worldwide trading (globalization)
  • Worldwide proclamation of the gospel
  • Worldwide persecution of Christians
  • A polluted world - polluted by man
  • Dramatic weather conditions
  • A world government - in the form of a revived Roman Empire
  • An apostate World church
  • Electronic trading via an ID on individuals
  • The regathering and blossoming of Israel

We see all this before our eyes - it is reality. Assume the probability of each of these scenarios occurring today is just 1 in 10 i.e. we just happen to have a world government forming today and it just happens to be the time for worldwide proclamation of the gospel. Then the probability of all eleven scenarios occurring at once, today, is 1 in 100,000,000,000 - pretty remote. But that is precisely what we have. Either the world has hit upon a very rare combination of events by chance, or God is in control and has ordained these things and warned man by Bible prophecy.


TRUTH = REALITY

THE BIBLE PREDICTS REALITY

THE BIBLE SPEAKS TRUTH

Lastly, don't be troubled. Put your trust in the one who loves you and knows you - Jesus Christ.
Jesus said:

"My peace I give to you - don't be troubled or fearful (Jn 14.27)"

See Giving your life to Christ



Bible quotations are from the New American Standard Bible