A Matter of Faith

By David M. McNabb

In high school, I had a teacher who was a devout agnostic. Many times, we would sit and discuss our beliefs together. In his fervor to dissuade me from my trust in the Bible and the things of God, he would often bring question after question, approaching each topic from various angles in an attempt to conquer my faith.

Time and again, I would offer biblical and historical answers to each of his questions. However, every once in a while, he would pose a question for which there could literally be no answer, at least not a logical one that I could imagine, even with my 16 or so years of life experience. At these times, I would offer that I knew it "by faith." That is when he would open up on me with both barrels, attacking the notion that "faith" was somehow an acceptable approach to life's questions.

This experience really taught me something about faith. Paul, in his discourse on the "whole armor of God," said, "Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked" (Eph 6:16). I realized that the enemy launches volley after volley against your various beliefs, and then, when he finally sees that your faith prevents his attacks from being successful, he stops fighting your individual beliefs and assaults your faith itself. It is as though, having found your shield of faith to be impervious, he says, "Your shield is full of holes. I can very easily destroy you because your shield is inadequate to protect you." This lie of Satan is his way of getting you to doubt your shield of faith, lay it down (as it were), and examine it. Then, while you are examining your shield to determine if it is, in fact, flawed, he attacks. With your guard down, you are a vulnerable target, and many a believer has found himself suddenly wondering what, if anything, he believes.

While the world rejects faith in God as backwards and outdated, how does it compare with what they believe? Every archaeological find, and every piece of historical evidence, points to the validity of the historical accuracy of the Scriptures. In October, 2004, with the help of advances in imaging techniques and advanced infrared systems, the inscriptions on a pair of tiny silver amulets found some 25 years earlier in a tomb near the Old City of Jerusalem were found to bear the words: "May the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord cause his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you; may the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace."

These amulets, bearing the prayer that is found in Numbers 6:24-26, have been dated to approximately 600 B.C., 20 years before King Nebuchadnezzar's army destroyed Solomon's temple, and 400 years earlier than the Dead Sea Scrolls that were discovered in 1947, east of Jerusalem.

This is just one piece of evidence that flies in the face of critics of the Bible's veracity. During the 19th century, many historians and biblical scholars asserted that the Bible was a relatively late invention, having been written by Jewish priests after the Babylonian Exile. Some have said that the Hebrew Scriptures were, primarily, a work of fiction, intended to establish credibility and legitimacy for Jewish authorities.

It has been a fundamental claim of Muslims in general, and Palestinians in particular (like Yasser Arafat), that the two Jewish Temples in Jerusalem never existed, and that Jews did not reside in the land of Israel 3,000 years ago. Despite overwhelming evidence to refute their claims, they accuse us of having blind faith and defunct thinking.

Meanwhile, the same scientists that reject any biblical evidence gathered at the Oak Ridge Observatory, 35 miles west of Boston on Tuesday, April 11, 2006, to dedicate an optical telescope. This telescope is to be used exclusively for a project called the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, commonly called the SETI project. For 22 years, the project has made use of radio telescopes to search for radio signals that would indicate the presence of life on other planets. This new equipment would augment that effort by searching for light signals from distant civilizations.

Based entirely on a form of faith, they are spending billions of dollars to prove something to be true for which there is no evidence, all the while mocking believers in God for accepting the insurmountable evidence of His existence. As is commonly the case, those that oppose the truth of God and His creation begin their search for "truth" with one or more foregone conclusions: There is no God. God did not create the universe. Life is random. Being random, life could have - must have - occurred elsewhere in the universe. Etc.

The revival of the debate between evolution and creation is another case of the scientific community choosing to accept a fictitious assertion in spite of the facts. "Researchers" will often find a bone, or even a group of bones, and fabricate a story about them, with little or no evidence to support their claims, and even less opposition from their peers. They throw out figures like "this creature lived 375 million years ago," as if the claim was irrefutable. They cite carbon dating as a tool to help them come to these conclusions, but fail to tell you that carbon dating is only accurate for a few thousand years. Anything older than that is just a random guess.

Many so-called proofs of pre-historic man have been proven to be either honest mistakes or outright hoaxes. In 1912, Charles Dawson found two skull fragments and a very curious jawbone very close together while excavating in Piltdown, England. He and his companion, Arthur Smith Woodward, keeper of the Department of Geology at the British Museum, were very excited because the bones, taken together, produced a skull with the characteristics of both man and ape. The jaw was ape-like, while the skull fragments were definitely human. Presto! We have the missing link.

Called "Piltdown man," Woodward argued that it probably lived about half a million years ago. In spite of critics, who thought the bones were too dissimilar to belong together, supporters prevailed, and the new species entered the textbooks as Eoanthropus dawson, or "Dawson's Dawn Man."

In 1953, a team of researchers at the British Museum reexamined the skull and jawbone, only to discover that the skull was a fake. While the upper skull was a few thousand years old, the jaw was only a few decades old, and was artificially stained with potassium dichromate to give it a more antique look. The jawbone and teeth had belonged to a modern ape, probably an orangutan. When it was also discovered that Dawson had trafficked in other fake antiquities, the hoax was completely confirmed.

Enter Nebraska man. In 1922, paleontologist Harold Cook found a single, humanlike fossil tooth in western Nebraska, from which evolutionists constructed an entire species which allegedly lived 6 million years ago.

It was later discovered that the tooth was not of an extinct hominid, but of a peccary, a type of pig. (Incidentally, the peccary, due to other fossil evidence, was believed to have become extinct some 11,000 years ago, until a live animal was discovered in Argentina in 1975. The truth is that the small, nocturnal peccary is alive and well, and living in regions of the Americas from southwestern United States southward to Argentina, and is not exactly the missing link between apes and humans. In fact, it is not even the missing link between pigs and humans.)

Other such hoaxes (some accidental, some deliberate) exist, but the scientific community continues to put their faith in evolution and deride Christians for blind trust in God.

The Bible was right about washing to prevent the spread of disease. The Bible was right when it declared the earth to be round. Archaeology proves the veracity of a worldwide flood, as is also supported by the existence of flood myths and legends in nearly every culture of the world.

In January, 2006, atheist Luigi Cascioli got his day in court. He was suing a small-town, Roman Catholic priest for deceiving people with a 2,000-year-old fable that Christ existed, in violation of two Italian laws. Before the hearing, Mauro Fonzo, Cascioli's attorney, told reporters, "The point is not to establish whether Jesus existed or not, but if there is a question of possible fraud." In court, Rev. Enrico Righi stressed substantial historical evidence - both Christian and non-Christian - of Jesus' existence. The case was subsequently dismissed. Maybe Mr. Cascioli should file suit against the real perpetrators of fraud: atheists and evolutionary scientists.

Apparently, the best evidence Jesus Christ left behind is an empty tomb, and millions of changed lives. As columnist Cal Thomas points out, " not a single witness [of the resurrection] subsequently denied what he (or she) observed. Human nature tells us that when those who publicly stated Jesus rose from the grave were threatened with death unless they recanted, at least one, and probably more, would have said it never happened, if it didn't occur. Not one recanted."

The risen Jesus told Thomas, "Be not faithless, but believing." Peter also said, "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls" (1 Pet. 1:7-9).

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