The Bible claims to be the very Word of God. It claims to contain the message that God spoke to mankind and that it was divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit. Here we examine its claims and the criticism that has come against it.
In the beginning…
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “Freely eat of every tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die. – Genesis 2: 15 ff
Adam was created by God and immediately given tasks requiring a level of sophistication and intelligence. Tilling the ground and keeping the Garden of Eden involved planning, strategy, attention to detail and the ability to react.
Notice that Adam was able to have full-fledged conversations with God and he was given the ability to reason right from wrong and make moral choices.God didn’t suggest that Adam shouldn’t eat from the tree…He commanded him. What would happen when Adam ate the fruit of the tree? He would certainly die…it was not a possibility. It was a certainty!
Satan’s immediate attack
Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest (in case) you die’. Genesis 3: 1 – 3
This passage demonstrates the subtlety of the Serpent – he diluted, deleted, edited and erased God’s Word in his conversation with Eve.
He diluted (or perhaps better yet, added to) God’s Word by initially speaking about “every” tree – God didn’t restrict eating from every tree, just one
He deleted God’s Word by not mentioning that it was specifically the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil – she never brought it up in her response
He edited God’s Word by removing any reference to eating from this tree would lead to her death
He erased God’s Word by suggesting an alternate reality – namely, that it was possible to be like God and that He was somehow holding out on her
Why the test? Ultimately every being has to come to the point where they will have to either trust God or not. You will never know as much as He does, you will never be every place like He is, and you will never always have existed like Him.
Eve gave evidence that she was already fixated on the tree and was susceptible to sin. How many trees were in the midst of the Garden? Two.
She deleted part of God’s Word…God said she and Adam could “freely” eat
She added to God’s Word…God never said she couldn’t touch it
“Lest” suggests a strong possibility, but not as strong as the term “certainly” or “surely” – in effect, God’s Word is getting watered down here just a bit.
This exchange is the birth of both licentiousness and legalism. Eve was so fixated on this tree that it is the only thing in the center of the Garden. She actually added to God’s Word – He never said they could not touch it. Legalism is deadly in the Christian’s life
God’s Word challenged from the start
Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. Genesis 3: 4 – 5
Ultimately this challenge concerning the nature of God’s Word leads to a direct contradiction and assault against what God has spoken. Ecclesiastes 1:9 says that there is nothing new under the sun. The assaults against the Bible that we say are prevalent today were all there in the beginning. The reason we have started with this account is that it sets up well the challenges to God’s Word that have been levied over the years.
Diluting/Adding to God’s Word
Satan suggested that God has put a prohibition on every tree and Eve added that they are also not allowed to touch it. Today the world has also diluted God’s Word: Muslims say Koran is God’s Word, Mormons say there is another testimony of Jesus Christ (Book of Mormon), and Roman Catholics says the Apocrypha should be included.
Deleting God’s Word
Satan never mentioned that the tree involved was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eve mentioned only one tree as being in the middle of the Garden, when in fact there was another one – the Tree of Life. By the way, that Tree proves God had no intention of withholding any good thing from them. Today, academia advances the notion of textual criticism and oral tradition and conveys much of the Bible has been lost over time (and the idea that the miraculous stories are but exaggerations).
Editing God’s Word
Satan edited out any reference to the moral and physical consequences of this act. Today, the world has put forth the notion that the Bible, its teachings and its morality are no longer relevant for today.
Erasing God’s Word
Satan then suggested an alternate reality – we can be like God and He is holding out on us. Today, the world has suggested alternate realities – Secular Humanism and Evolution and that facts and evidence don’t matter.
A More Sure Word of Prophecy
And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.