"ISSUES OF DISTINCTION" The Identity Of God INTRODUCTION 1. Our previous study briefly surveyed some of the arguments for the EXISTENCE of God: a. The ontological argument (if man can conceive of a perfect God, one must exist) b. The general argument (the universal belief in God and man's religious instinct) c. The cosmological argument (every effect must have a cause; the cosmos is an effect, and its adequate cause is God) d. The teleological argument (evidence of design necessitates a Designer) e. The moral argument (moral nature in man and sense of "ought" demands a Moral Person in back of all things) f. The esthetical argument (beauty in the universe and man's response to it suggests a Supreme Being with an eye for beauty) -- These philosophical arguments are based upon what is seen in CREATION, which reveals something of the Creator - cf. Ro 1:20 2. But these arguments do not, nor does creation, IDENTIFY who this Supreme Being is... a. Is He the God revealed in the Bible? b. Is He the God or Gods believed in by Hindus, Buddhists, etc.? c. Or is He some Being yet to be discovered by mankind? [In this study, we shall take a closer look at the second "issue of distinction": The Identity of God...] I. THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS ISSUE A. IF GOD IS NOT THE ONE REVEALED IN THE BIBLE... 1. Then the Jew, the Muslim, and the Christian are in error a. For they are united in their belief that He is the God of Abraham b. And that He has revealed Himself through prophets 2. Then we should be looking elsewhere to learn who God is a. Either to the eastern religions, such as Hinduism or Buddhism b. Or perhaps some other religion among the many in the world B. IF GOD IS THE ONE REVEALED IN THE BIBLE... 1. Then we owe it to ourselves to carefully read the Bible a. To learn what God has revealed about Himself b. To learn what God expects of mankind 2. Then we have narrowed down the choices as to what is the true religion in the world: Judaism, Christianity, or Islam [As we proceed to consider arguments for believing that the God of the Bible is the One True God, a certain line of reasoning will be followed: The Bible claims to be the Word of the One True God; if this is true, we should find evidence of INSPIRATION. What, then, are evidences that the Bible is really INSPIRED of God?] II. EVIDENCES FOR THE IDENTITY OF GOD A. THE UNIFORMITY OF THE SCRIPTURES... 1. The Bible is a collection of 66 books, written: a. Over a 1600 year span b. Over a period of 40 generations c. By approx. 40 authors from every walk of life; e.g.: 1) MOSES, a political leader trained in the universities of Egypt 2) PETER, a fisherman 3) AMOS, a herdsman 4) JOSHUA, a military general 5) NEHEMIAH, a cup bearer to a king 6) DANIEL, a prime minister 7) LUKE, a physician 8) SOLOMON, a king 9) MATTHEW, a tax collector 10) PAUL, a tentmaker and rabbi d. In different places 1) Moses in the wilderness 2) Jeremiah in a dungeon 3) Daniel on a hillside and in a palace 4) Paul inside prison walls 5) Luke while traveling 6) John in exile an the isle of Patmos 7) Others in the rigors of military campaign e. At different times 1) David in times of war 2) Solomon in times of peace f. During different moods 1) Some writing from the heights of joy 2) Others from the depths of sorrow and despair g. On three continents 1) Asia 2) Africa 3) Europe h. In three languages 1) Hebrew 2) Aramaic 3) Greek i. Which subject matter includes hundreds of controversial topics 1) The origin of man & the universe 2) The nature of God 3) The nature of sin & man's redemption 2. Despite all this, there is harmony and continuity! a. For example: 1) "The Paradise Lost of the book of Genesis becomes the Paradise Regained of Revelation" 2) "Whereas the gate to the tree of life is closed in Genesis, it is opened forevermore in Revelation." - GEISLER and NIX b. Compare the continuity of the Bible with any other such writings of man 1) Imagine what you would have if you just took ten authors... a) From one walk of life, one generation, one place, one time, one mood one continent, one language b) Speaking on one controversial subject 2) You would have a conglomeration of ideas, not harmony! 3. The reason for the UNITY of the Bible? a. The writers were all inspired by the same God
- cf. 2Pe 1:20-21 b. Providing evidence that the God of the Bible is the One True God! B. THE SCIENTIFIC FOREKNOWLEDGE OF THE BIBLE... 1. The nature of this argument: a. In the Bible there are scientific truths... 1) That were unknown by man with all his wisdom and resources 2) That are stated as facts hundreds of years in advance of the discovery of these truths by men b. That the writers of the Bible could have known these facts only through inspiration c. That such evidence of inspiration confirms they were writing or speaking for the One True God! 2. Just a few examples of facts written about in the Bible, but confirmed only recently with the aid of modern science... a. The roundness of the earth - Isa 40:22 b. The suspension of the earth in space - Job 26:7 c. The currents in the seas - Ps 8:8 d. The springs in the seas - Job 38:16 e. All nations of one blood - Ac 17:26 C. FULFILLED PROPHECIES FOUND IN THE BIBLE... 1. The nature of this argument: a. The prophecies of the Old Testament foretold events in detail that were beyond the scope of human speculation b. How did the writers do it? 1) They attributed it to God! 2) And God declared that such evidence was a proof of His existence and superiority over men and all heathen gods - Isa 41:21-24; 42:8-9; 46:8-11 2. A few examples (Messianic prophecies will be considered in the next study): a. The fall of Babylon, written two hundred years before it occurred - Isa 13:17-22 b. The fall of Egypt, that it would be destroyed more by civil war than by outside forces - Isa 19:1-4 c. The fall of Nineveh, with its utter desolation - Zeph 2: 13-15 d. The fall of Tyre, with its becoming a place for the spreading of nests - Ezek 26:1-5 -- Cf. Introduction To Christian Evidences, Ferrell Jenkins, pp. 87-107 CONCLUSION 1. We have briefly surveyed evidence suggesting the Bible to be inspired by a Supreme Being... a. The uniformity of the Scriptures b. The scientific foreknowledge of the Bible c. Fulfillment of prophecies found in the Bible -- Our examples have been few, and simply illustrative; indeed, entire volumes have been written on this subject 2. The Bible is either the work of men or of God; if it is from God... a. Then it is easy to understand how these men could write as
they did b. Then the IDENTITY of the One True God is known: 1) He is the God of the Bible! 2) And that Book is His Word to us! 3. But among those who believe in the God of the Bible, there
are differences... a. Most Jews accept only the Old Testament portion as Scripture b. Christians accept both the Old and New Testaments c. Muslims believe that both the Old and New Testaments have been corrupted, so as to present an improper picture of Moses and Jesus 4. The core of these differences revolve around another "issue of distinction": The Identity Of Jesus of Nazareth That is the "issue" we shall examine in our next study...