Tue | Dec 12, 2017

Letter of the Day | The Bible : fact or fiction?

Published:Saturday | September 2, 2017 | 12:00 AM


In her article, 'Why I believe in the Bible', August 30, Novlette Myers informs us that Pythagoras theorem helps her unravel the intricacies of the Bible. How interesting!

Food for thought. With Pythagoras on her side, she would no doubt arrive at a more accurate date when the earth was created than the good archbishop, James Usher, who in the 17th century, along with others, using biblical data, computed a figure of 4004 BC. On October 23 at 9 a.m., to be precise.

Presumably, just after, a contented and surfeited God had a sumptuous breakfast of ackee and salt fish. Adding the Common Era (2,000 years), the age of the earth becomes 6,000 years, embarrassingly inconsistent with scientific evidence. Radiometric studies on the oldest rocks and meteorites give the actual age of the earth at about 4.5 billion years.

Pythagoras takes a beating when Novlette Myers states that the Bible is historically and scientifically accurate. Let's look at the evidence. Studies on the strata of the earth show that the great flood (Genesis 6-9) is a scientific impossibility. Noah's Ark and the flood wasn't even an original Hebrew tale. It arose from the Gilgamesh epic, the story of a Sumerian king who purportedly lived around the middle of the 3rd millennium BCE.

Moses and the Exodus story is pure fiction. Not a single piece of archaeological evidence has been found to indicate that a million people wandered for forty years in the wilderness in Sinai.

When was Jesus born? Before 4 BCE (Matthew 2:1), when King Herod was still alive, or after 6 CE ( Luke 2:1-4), when Quirinius, the Roman governor, of Syria conducted a census? We know that Herod died in 4 BCE.. There is, therefore, a discrepancy of about 10 years between the two events. Jesus had to be born twice, a feat impressible, even for a supernatural being.

Did Jesus really bodily rise from the dead? The resurrection comes solely from scriptures; there is no reliable historical account. And the crucifixion miracles like earthquakes and resurrected saints? How did historians of the time miss that?

True, some historical facts adduced in the Bible are accurate. There is evidence of a Roman governor of Judea named Pontius Pilate, but no extrascriptural evidence that he judged Jesus. More plausible explanations for the resurrection are: that the disciples hallucinated the risen Jesus, Mary went to the wrong tomb finding it empty, or the body was stolen.

If the resurrection happened, it was a miracle. History cannot prove a miracle. For believers, even if there is evidence against the resurrection, it wouldn't matter. As one theologian said, "If science somehow shows that the resurrection of Jesus is impossible, I would continue to believe what the Bible teaches, because if you take away the resurrection, there is no Christian faith."

Christians like Novlette Myers have no need for evidence. All they need is faith.