The Bible is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Alan and Pat answer a skeptic’s questions.
09/02/2011

Atheists and skeptics love to hurl criticism at the Bible, the word of God. But God’s

word provides its own best defense, for it has the ring of truth, tolling down

through the centuries. I was sent a series of questions by an atheist. Some are valid,

others just silly,  but they are the sort of questions all Christians are asked at some time.

God expects  us to give an account of our belief, to “contend earnestly for the faith”

as Jude put it.  So here are our Biblical answers to a critic’s questions.

First, here is what God says:

 

"Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with

 their mocking, following after their own lusts and saying

"where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers

fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning

of creation." 2 Peter 3: 3;4.This refers to people who snigger

and scoff at things they do not understand. It's really rather sad.

But the Bible predicted it would be so, immediately prior to the Lord's return. .

Question:

 

"Why did God not like Cain's vegetable sacrifice but

loved Abel's cooked meat?"

 

Answer:

 

Hebrews 11;4 gives the answer: “By faith Abel offered to

God a better sacrifice than Cain through which he obtained

the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about

his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.”

11;6 “And without faith it is impossible to please Him…”

In other words, Abel had true or “saving” faith, Cain didn’t.

Everybody believed and knew God in those days, of course. 

They also knew what kind of sacrifices He wanted.

 

Heb 9:22 ‘…without the shedding of blood there is no remission..’ 

Sin is so terrible and so offensive to God that there is nothing

valuable enough to pay the penalty of it except blood.  That

is why Jesus suffered and died and shed His blood.  He

would not have had to do that if there had been any other way. 

Abel’s blood sacrifice was acceptable.  Cain is a type of

someone who offers God his own good works.  Isaiah 64:6

tells us that our good works are like stinking rags to God.

 

Here is a site that will help you

understand http://www.creationists.org/will-good-works-get-you-into-heaven.html

 

There is a good poem about this at http://www.baptistpillar.com/bd0148.htm

Question:

 

 

"Who was Cain afraid would kill him when God put him

out of the Garden for killing Abel? There were mum, dad,

his brother and himself on the whole planet at the time."

Answer:

 

 

By the time of the Flood, 1,656 years after Creation,

the world could have had a population of seven billion.

Not every child would have been recorded, only

those relevant to the story. As people had long lifespans

then there could have been many other people around and

indeed were. In its first 800 years, the possible lifespan of

Cain, the earth could have had a population of 120,000

(source, The Genesis Record by Henry Morris).

The first marriages were all brother and sister marriages

 - the gene pool was strong then. All that world was

destroyed- we just have bones and fossils left.

If you want to find out more about Creation,

look up this website: Creation.com

 

Question:

 

 

"Why would God stop the whole earth for a day

so Israelites could finish a genocide against the enemy?"

 

Answer:

 

 

This is from Joshua 10:12
Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day

when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before

the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel,"O sun,

stand still at Gibeon,And O moon in the valley of Aijalon."
Joshua 10:11-13 (in Context) Joshua 10 (Whole Chapter)

The context is that the Amorites were hopelessly evil and

God wanted them removed from the face of the earth.   

The Lord listened to Joshua’s prayers and fought for

Israel, as he has done many times right up to the present

day- and continues to do so, which is why such a tiny

land is strangely invincible. This is one of the great

indications that the Bible is true, incidentally.

Why do you use the word ‘genocide’? This smacks

of an evil mindset against God and against the Bible. 

God gave the Amorites every chance. He even kept

the Israelites in Egypt as slaves until the wickedness

of the Amorites was full (Gen 15:16). They were

horrible people and to see what they did to babies and

children, click on the link below.

http://www.bibletopics.com/biblestudy/59.htm

 

 

Question:

 

 

"How come the horses in the Exodus die twice in the

Ten Plagues and still survive for Pharaoh to mount

a final attack against the Israelites, and then die again."

 

 

Answer:

 

 

The text in Exodus 9: 3;7,  says that many animals,

some of all kinds, should die by some form of pestilence. 

Verse 19 makes clear that not all the animals of Egypt

were destroyed. Verse 20 says that “The one among

the servants of Pharaoh who feared the word of the

Lord made his servants and his livestock flee into

the houses to shelter from the coming hailstorm.

You have to read the text carefully and with a

good commentary, like William McDonald’s.

Question:

 

 

"Why, no matter what, is it always the humans'

fault and God never gets any blame for not

making good on his promises?"

 

 

Answer:

 

 

This is easy - unbelievers are always wanting to turn

things round and blame God rather than their own

original sin. God makes good on all His promises.

Name one that he hasn’t made good on. The reason

people are to blame is that it is their fault for

disobeying the clear word of God, set out in great

detail throughout both old and new testaments.

The ones not yet fulfilled will be and in fact many

are being fulfilled at this time. You either put

yourself on the side of God and believe the truth,

or reject God and start pointing the finger at him.

That’s a bit pathetic, really.

 

 

Question:

"Why does the Apostle Paul, who writes most of

the New Testament, NEVER quote Jesus, tell a

story of his life or death, discuss a miracle or teaching?"

 

 

Answer:

 

 

Luke also wrote a lot and, in Acts, starts by

talking about the aftermath of the crucifixion.

He quotes The Lord Jesus in verses 4, 5,7 and 8.

He quotes the Lord again in  Acts 9, verses 4, 5,6, 11, 12 and 15.

Luke again quotes Jesus in Acts 22: 7;8; 10; 18 and 21. And

so on – Chapter 26: 14;15;16;17;18. Bibles with the words

of Jesus in red help you pick them out.  

I don’t see the relevance of this question. The life,

miracles, death and resurrection of Jesus were told

in the Gospels and cover events  prior to Paul being

converted. He wasn’t there - hence no first hand reports.

Paul had a different purpose; taking the news about

Jesus out to the wider world and, once churches were

established, teaching the leaders/appointing the

leaders of those churches.

Paul recounts his very own conversion miracle and

meeting with Jesus in Chapter 26 when he appears

before Agrippa. All of Paul’s teaching was directly

inspired from the Lord Jesus, transmitted via The

Holy Spirit. He sums up the teaching of the Lord in

Acts 26: 23: “that the Christ was to suffer and that by

reason of His resurrection from the dead He should

be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish

people and to the Gentiles.”


Question:

 

 

"Why do neither Mark nor John know anything

about Jesus' birth, while Matthew and Luke do

but tell contradictory stories?"

Answer:

 

 

Of course they knew all about the birth of Jesus.

Mark starts his account with the story leading up

to the start of Jesus’ ministry. John goes back

further, to the Creation. Not every Gospel,

not every book, needs to repeat the same facts.

The story progresses and is told from different

perspectives. Some accounts add more detail but

they never, ever, contradict each other. There is

not one contradiction in the whole Bible.

Critics make these claims- but seldom name one! 

God gets things right first time.

 

 

 

Question:


"Why does Paul only say Jesus was born of

a woman like everyone else?"

 

 

Answer:

 

 

Because this was the truth. It was His

fatherhood that was not of human origin.

Question:

 

 

"Did Paul ever spend five minutes with the

real human Jesus?"

 

 

Answer:

 

 

Paul was a religious Jew and even as a boy

probably went up to Jerusalem for the feasts,

so he may well have seen Jesus at some stage. 

This is irrelevant. The main thing is that Paul

came to faith in Israel’s Messiah. You are

following rabbit trails that may be interesting,

but you could be in danger of missing the main event.

Jesus was crucified, rose and ascended to

Heaven prior to Paul’s conversion, so obviously

he did not spend time with Jesus on earth.

This was not necessary as the Lord spoke to him

on the road to Damascus.

1 Cor 11 23 says: ‘For I have received of the lord

that which also I delivered unto you…’ so Jesus,

although He had already gone back to Heaven,

obviously did teach Paul by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 1:17,18 After Paul’s conversion he did not go

back to Jerusalem, ‘but I went into Arabia and returned

again unto Damascus Then after three years I went up

to Jerusalem to see Peter and abode with him 15 days.’

No one knows what went on in those three years,

but that is how long the other apostles were with Jesus.

Gal 2:1,2 ‘Then 14 years after I went up again to

Jerusalem with Barnabas and took Titus with me also. 

And I went up by revelation…’ Paul had direct revelation from God.

2 Cor 12:2 Paul was caught up to Heaven and heard

things there.  The important thing is that Paul believed

the Scriptures and believed in Jesus, fully man and fully God.

 

Question:

"Isn't it strange the man who writes most of the New

Testament and tells us all how to live, think and believe

about Jesus, never met him, while the Twelve who did,

vanish into thin air and write nothing/"

 

 

Answer.

 

 

Nothing strange about it. Paul met Jesus, as detailed above,

and was inspired of the Holy Spirit to act and write as he did.

He knew Jesus very well indeed. Vanish into thin air?

No, they were busy preaching and teaching the gospel.

 

Question:

"How come Jesus never wrote anything himself while

alive, but then writes perfect Greek after he is dead

in the form of the Book of Revelation?"

 

 

Answer: He wrote in the sand when the woman

caught in adultery was brought before Him.

As the Creator of the universe, mere human languages

are unlikely to be a problem for Him. He knows everything, after all.

Question:

 

 

"If Herod killed all the little children under two to

get at Jesus, who escaped, can we not say the little

children had to die for Jesus before he died for them?"

 

 

Answer:

 

 

Non-believers can say what they like, but that

doesn’t make it true. The children were murdered

by an evil man, inspired by Satan.   Satan is  

now trying to stop the Second Advent - and

always has - by trying to wipe out the Jews.

You must have noticed that they are the

most persecuted race on earth. Not an accident.

Question:

 

 

"How come Herod couldn't follow the Star

of Bethlehem himself to find Jesus, but

sent others to report back when they found him?"

 

 

Answer:

 

 

The star was obviously supernatural, visible

to the wise men and not to Herod. Stars

do not go before people and stand over a house.  

Herod didn’t send others: the wise men - not

necessarily three of them by the way - were sent

and inspired by God. Herod asked them to

report back but they were warned by an angel

not to go, so returned home by a different route.

Question:

 

 

"How could Mary leave town after being warned

of Herod's intentions and never tell the women

in the town their kids were about to be butchered?

Do you think Mary thought, 'I know something

you don't know,' as she left town?"

 

 

Answer:

 

 

You have a really nasty mind. The text doesn’t

say that Mary was told all the children would be

killed. Try reading it before phrasing these questions!

Matthew 2; 13 tells how an angel appeared to

Joseph – not Mary –and told him to take his

family and flee to Egypt… “for Herod is going

to search for the child (singular) to destroy Him.”

At that stage Herod had not decided to kill

all the children – this comes only in verse 16

when he realized he had been tricked by the Magi.

So the snide remark about Mary is uncalled for.

Question:

 

 

"How could Jesus' family flee to Egypt sometime

during the first two years in one story but go home

to Nazareth quietly after 40 days in the other?"

 

 

Answer:

 

 

They went back up to Nazareth after the birth. 

Then at some stage the wise men arrived, at

a house not a stable, and Jesus was a toddler,

not a baby.  When the angel woke Joseph up

and warned him, the family left the country. 

We are not told if they were by then in

Nazareth or Bethlehem or some other

village at the time.  Herod had the babies killed

throughout the Bethlehem area because his

advisors told him that was where Messiah

would be born.   Remember that the Jews

had three feasts and they went to Jerusalem

three times a year, so they may well have

gone down from Nazareth to the Bethlehem

area to stay during one of the festival seasons.   

It would have made it much easier on them

if they were in Bethlehem, because they

would have had fewer miles to travel to Egypt.

Question

 

 

"How come in Mark 3 Mary and Jesus’  

brothers came to get Jesus and take him home

because they thought he was "mad" which

I assume means insane. Did Mary forget who He was                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   he was and how he got here?"

 

 

Answer

 

 

Jesus’ brothers did not believe in Him at that

time (John 7:5).  His mother knew, but was

probably alarmed at how He was going about things. 

Remember, the Jews were looking for a conquering

king Messiah, not a suffering servant Messiah.

Mary could no doubt foresee the danger He was in from the rulers.

Question:

 

 

"How come Matthew uses the Old Testament

to weave a story of Jesus, where every quote

he uses has absolutely nothing to do with

the point he is making about Jesus birth?"

 

 

Answer

 

 

You are muddled. Matthew shows the line of

Messiah going back to Abraham.  That has a

lot to do with His birth.  Then he shows how

the birth fulfills OT prophecies, of Mary

being a virgin, yet pregnant (Isaiah 7) ; that

his name would be Immanuel, God with us,

which is what He is, that he would save his

people from their sins.  Then the magi and

the star, fulfilling more OT prophecy. 

Then born in Bethlehem, the very place

prophesied in Micah 5. Then the flight to

Egypt, fulfilling the pattern that refers to

Messiah and Israel both coming ‘out of Egypt’.

Matthew was showing that Jesus was the true

Messiah, fulfilling the prophecies made

hundreds of years before He came.

Question

 

 

"If Jesus was asked 'who sinned, this man or

his parents that he was born blind?', would that

not imply the man had sinned before his birth,

perhaps in a previous life, if his blindness at

birth was some kind of punishment? I mean,

the blindness was from birth, so the sin had to be before that."

 

 

Answer

 

 

No.  There is no such thing as reincarnation. 

Heb 9:27 ‘As it is appointed for men to die once,

but after this the judgment…’

There is no question of a previous life. The

Bible has never taught reincarnation.  It is a

false doctrine.  The question put to Jesus

indicated that the man born blind could

have sinned while in the womb, not that he had a previous existence. 

 

 

Recommendation:

 

 

That you get Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s teaching

series ‘Life of the Messiah from a Jewish Perspective’

which will answer every question.

Also Believers’ Bible Commentary by William Macdonald.

Recommendation from Pat:

 

 

Paul, I am concerned about you. You seem to be

aggressively looking for some excuse to rubbish the Bible

and blame God. You seem to think He is cruel,

when in fact He is loving and kind, slow to anger,

abundant in mercy to those who fear Him. 

I detect no fear of God in your questions.  I fear for you. 

 

 

If you have read Romans 3 you know that all have

sinned, including me and including you.  My

real life began when I got on my knees and begged

God to forgive all my sins. That was in 1981. 

That was the day I was born again. 

That is what you need, Paul – to stop nitpicking

and start examining your own faults and asking

God to forgive you.  Then you will be able to come

to the Bible with a new heart. If you repent of your

sins and put your trust in the Lord Jesus, He will give

you a new life and a new heart, and make you to

be a new creation in Christ (2 Cor 5:17 and 2 Cor 3:18).


 


 
 
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