A scientist shows why it makes
sense to believe the Bible
I wish there was space to name all the people who deserve my thanks. But at least I must mention my friends Arthur Gibson, David Godfrey and Harry Whittaker, who went through the first draft with a fine-toothed comb and pointed out all its shortcomings. (Those that remain are not due to their inefficiency, but to my obstinacy!)
Then there is Prof. F. F. Bruce of Manchester University who advised me on the text of chapters 16 to 18, and Mr. Alan W. Fowler of Bridgend General Hospital on the sections dealing with medicine and anthropology.
And I shall never forget how Miss Rita Dyson typed the whole thing twice, and bits of it three or four times, accurately and-believe it or not - cheerfully.
To them and many other willing helpers I owe a great deal. I won't say that I don't know what I should have done without them, because I do know.
I should have failed to produce this book.
曼彻斯特大学的F. F. Bruce 教授为本书的16-18章提出了建议，Bridgend General Hospital 的Alan W. Fowler 先生与我讨论了医疗和人类学方面的问题。
我将永远不会忘记Rita Dyson 小姐为我两次将手稿打字，有些部分三次甚至四次，
The author and publishers are grateful for permission to reproduce the following copyright material:
Quotations from the New English Bible, second edition © 1970, by permission of the Oxford and Cambridge University Presses Quotations from the Revised Standard Version Bible used by permission of the Division of Christian Education, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.
Extract from the Introduction by Dr. W. R. Thompson to the Every-man Library edition of Darwin's Origin of Species by permission of J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd.
Passages from Science is God by David Horrobin, by permission of Medical and Technical Publishing Co. Ltd.
Extract from Why I Believe the Bible by A. J. Pollock, by permission of Central Bible Hammond Trust
Line drawing of Zin janthro pus) drawn by Maurice Wilson for Dr. K. P. Oakley, reproduced by kind permission of Dr. Oakley Drawing of Zin janthro pus by Neave Parker, reproduced by permission of the London Electrotype Agency (The Illustrated London News & Sketch Ltd.)
Drawing of Brontosaurs by Neave Parker, reproduced by permission of the British Museum (Natural History)
Facts are awkward things
1 Why bother? 2
2 A modern miracle 7
3 More history written in advance 14
4 Preview of Calvary 22
5 Jesus foretells twentieth-century problems
6 Who could have invented Jesus? 42
7 The evidence of the empty tomb
8 A law ahead of its time 61
9 The ring of truth 69
10 Harmony doesn't just happen 77
11 It can't all be coincidence 87
PART TWO 第二部分
But what about. ..?
12 Problems? Of course! 94
13 Can we trust the experts? 98
14 All or nothing 110
15 Falling between two stools 122
16 When were the books written? 132
17 How did the Bible come down to us? 150
18 Bible history-true or false? 171
19 Does the Bible contradict itself? 181
20 The nasty objections 191
21 Is the Bible unscientific? 201
22 Why some biologists think
Darwin was wrong 215
23 How the human race began 227
24 The problem of suffering 237
25 The real problems 248
PART THREE 第三部分
26 First steps in Bible study 256
27 A power in the earth 269
Notes and References 275
The next time you scratch your finger and raise a tiny drop of blood, don’t just wipe it off and forget about it. Pause for a moment and reflect. That red blob the size of a pin head is one of the wonders of the world.
Floating around in it like a shoal of microscopic jellyfish are some five million red cells. Every one of them is a distinct living creature. It is born, it lives and works for about four months, and then grows old and dies.
Scattered thinly among the red cells are about ten thousand white cells. There are five different types of these, and their average life span is only a few days. Then there are another quarter of a million floating specks called platelets, and hundreds of different chemicals in solution, all mixed up in an apparently hopeless confusion-and all contained in a spot no bigger than a pin’s head.
Yet in the midst of this seeming chaos there is order and purpose. The blood surging ceaselessly round your body provides a better transport system than all the world’s postal services put together. Those red cells are like miniature gas cylinders. They collect oxygen from your lungs and deliver it to practically all your cells - and there are far more cells in your body than there are people on earth.
Almost every one of the vast array of chemicals in your bloodstream is on its way to one of a myriad destinations. Some of the sugar and glucose derived from your last meal is heading for your muscles, there to be consumed as fuel. If you ate too much of that chocolate cake, the excess sugar is being sent to your liver, to be stored until your muscles need it.
Other kinds of food products are needed for body-building; they are speeding in all directions to the organs that will make use of them. Iodine is destined for the thyroid, phosphorus for the teeth, calcium for the bones, amino acids for the tissues.
Carbon dioxide is travelling to the lungs to be breathed out. Urea and other waste products are making for the kidneys to be excreted. Millions of red blood cells die every minute, but although their work is finished they are not expelled from the body. They contain an element - iron - that the body does not acquire very easily. It is too precious to be thrown away. So most of these cells are consigned to one of the body’s chemical factories to be broken up. There the molecules of iron are carefully preserved, to be used again in the manufacture of new red cells.
A wide variety of hormones travels along the red river carrying messages. Created in one part of the body, they instruct some other part of the body how to behave. A youth’s voice breaks, for instance, and his beard begins to grow, when the hormones from his sex glands tell his throat and his face that it is time for him to sound and to look like a man.
Other components of the blood are there just to keep us from harm. It carries its own puncture repair kit. Its watery base, the plasma, contains a protein called fibrinogen. Aided by the suspended platelets this forms a leak-plugging clot whenever it comes into contact with the air. Without fibrinogen we should bleed to death from a cut finger.
The most common type of white blood cell provides a mobile defence force. When infection strikes one part of the body, millions of these white warriors converge on the scene and slaughter the invading bacteria. Other defenders, the antibodies, have a more limited role. Each antibody spells death to only one kind of deadly organism. Fortunately for us the blood contains many different kinds of antibody, so that between them they protect us from a multitude of diseases.
Facts Worth Finding Out值得探讨的事实
Just a tiny bloodstain on a handkerchief. Something so commonplace that you would not normally give it a second glance. Yet when you examine it more closely, it has a fascinating tale to tell.
The Bible is rather like that. It is so well known that everybody takes it for granted. Yet very few people really know what it is like inside. One purpose of this book is to open up the Bible, and show how interesting it is to those who look beneath its surface.
But there is an even better reason for looking into the Bible. Unlike ordinary books the Bible makes an astonishing claim. “Read me, believe me, and do what I say,” says the Bible, in effect, “and the Creator of this wonderful universe will give you a priceless reward.”
In these days of slick salesmen and confidence tricksters, this seems altogether too good to be true. Many people take the easy way out. They dismiss the Bible’s claims out of hand, without giving them a second thought. Others behave more thoughtfully. Perhaps they are motivated by a sense of fair play, and do not wish to condemn anything without first giving it a hearing. Perhaps they are moved by that powerful urge, the spirit of curiosity which lies behind all research and discovery. Whatever the reason, they are prepared to examine a few facts about the Bible. This book is for people like them.
Discovering facts and weighing their implications is always a worthwhile job. But it is not always an easy one. Facts can be such awkward things at times.
For example, if the postman comes one morning with an electricity bill for thirty pounds and a statement from the bank indicating that you have a credit balance of eleven pounds and fourpence, you naturally feel rather uncomfortable. Here are some unpleasant facts demanding to be faced. What’s to be done about it?
People react differently in a situation like that. Some people would push the two letters out of sight, go off to work, and forget all about it. They seem to think that if they ignore the problem it will go away.
Others might get hot under the collar about it. Who’s to blame, they wonder. Did that stupid man from the Electricity Board read the meter wrongly? Have the boys secretly been keeping the electric fire in their bedroom burning all night? Or has that computer system at the bank slipped up?
You can only feel sorry for people like that. Their prejudiced outlook sticks out like a television aerial on a minicar. That’s the funny thing about prejudice. The other fellow’s prejudices are always so obvious, but it is often very hard indeed to see our own.
The Layout of this Book本书的布局
That is why this book has been divided into two main parts. There is probably more prejudice about the Bible than about any other subject on earth. So many fantastic untruths have been told about the Bible that it is practically impossible for a newcomer to approach it with an unbiased mind. The Nazi propaganda minister, Dr. Goebbels, knew a thing or two when he declared, “The bigger the lie, the more readily people will swallow it,” If enough mud is thrown, some of it is bound to stick.
Consequently, the average man starts off with the assumption that the Bible cannot possibly be true. This puts the writer of a book like this in a fix. What should he do? Start on the defensive, and show how weak are the arguments used to attack the Bible? Or plunge straight in with the positive evidence that the Bible is true?
In making my decision, I have been guided by the advice of a nineteenth-century enthusiast. “Defend the Bible?” he asked indignantly. “I’d as soon try to defend a lion! All the Bible needs is a fair chance, and it is well able to defend itself.”
So I decided to make Part One of this book a statement of some remarkable facts about the Bible. To me there is only one possible explanation of these facts: that the Bible is just what it claims to be, a true
and infallible message from God to mankind. But then I am biased in favour of the Bible, and you, perhaps, are biased against it.
I am not going to ask you to read Part One with an open mind. We all start with convictions of one sort or another, so that there can be no such thing as a truly open mind. As you read Part One, you are likely to find yourself thinking, “Yes, this all sounds very plausible on its own
-but what about all the damning evidence against the Bible?”
To this perfectly reasonable question there is a simple answer: that is where Part Two comes in. Part Two attempts to deal with all the most popular objections to the Bible, and you may be surprised to see how unfair and how trivial most of them are.
If you are one of those people who can’t stand the suspense of reading a “whodunnit” from beginning to end, but have to have a peep at the ending before you get halfway through, you may be tempted to read Part Two first. But this is not a good idea. You would do better to read Part One keeping all your problems in reserve; then read Part Two, to see how many of those problems can be disposed of; and then go back to Part One again, to reconsider the positive evidence with an easier mind.
And what of Part Three? That is for people whose minds are half made up. If, when you have read Parts One and Two, you think there might be something in the Bible after all, Part Three will tell you how you can settle the matter once and for all.
Not Just for Eggheads 本书不是仅为受过教育的人写的
This book is written for ordinary men and women. After all, it was to such folk that Jesus Christ preached. “The common people heard Him gladly,” said Mark, with evident satisfaction.1 Jesus Himself took pleasure in the fact that “to the poor the gospel is preached”.2
For this reason I shall stick to simple English and try to avoid what might be called “scholarly language”. The only places where language of that kind will occur will be in passages quoted from other authors.
In the parts of this book that deal with scientific matters, the kind of language used will probably make my fellow scientists weep. The fact is, you simply cannot talk accurately about science without using the correct, long, scientific terms. But then, as the foreword to an excellent non-technical book3 published by a British Government scientific laboratory says, “it is more important to be nearly right and understandable, than academically accurate and incomprehensible.”
In any case, I am not writing this book from the point of view of a scientist, but as a student of the Bible. Being a scientist might help you to spot the mistakes of other scientists when they condemn the Bible.
But it would not help you to decide whether the Bible is a message from God. Studying the Bible for ourselves is the only way we can do that. And we can study the Bible without knowing any science, or even any of the more useful subjects like Hebrew and Greek and ancient history. The only essential equipment is a thoughtful, enquiring mind.
Many of the arguments in this book, especially in Parts One and Three, are based on the text of the Bible itself. Because most people are more familiar with the so-called Authorised (or King James) Version of the Bible than with any modern version, the majority of the Bible quotations are from that version. To make the quotations easier to read I have modernised the punctuation in some places. Sometimes I have slipped into the words of the English Revised Version without mentioning it, where this gives the sense of the Scriptures more clearly. Whenever any other translation has been used I have said so.
In other places I have had to base arguments on facts (and opinions) drawn from many sources. For the sake of any readers who may wish to consult the original sources of information, details of all the more important ones are given in the notes.
Where a book referred to in this way is marked with a star (*), it means that I regard it as particularly helpful-and that it is written in language a layman can understand. Some of these starred books were written a long time ago, and may be out of print now. But they are worth the trouble of tracking them down, if you can manage it.
A Modern Miracle
Norman is a research physicist who does not believe the Bible and refuses to read it. Whenever I mention Bible prophecy to him, he smiles condescendingly.
“Of course Bible prophecies have been fulfilled,” he says. “They were bound to be. They remind me of the astrology pages in Old Moore’s Almanac. You know how it goes: in January, ‘Bad weather increases road deaths’; in February, ‘There will be many strikes in the engineering industry’; in March, ‘There will he many crimes of violence and a sensational bank robbery.’
“You can’t lose when you prophesy such obvious things in such vague terms. Something is sure to happen that can be made to fit each prophecy, in retrospect. And that’s how it is with the Bible.”
Poor Norman. He only exposes his own ignorance when he talks like that. The astonishing thing about the Bible is that it has prophesied the most unlikely things. And although some prophecies are worded in an obscure way, many others are as clear as crystal.
A good example to begin with is the way the Bible has foretold the entire history of the Jewish people over a period of more than two thousand years.
A Strange History独特的历史
It is quite possible that you dislike Jews. Many people do. But that is beside the point at the moment. Whatever we may think about the Jews we cannot deny that they exist, and that they have a very long and a very strange history.
In the days of Jesus Christ there was a thriving Jewish nation in the land of Israel. Hundreds of years earlier the nation had been independent, but long before Jesus was born it became a part of the Roman Empire.
The Jews did not take kindly to being ruled by foreigners. For many years the country seethed with discontent and rebellion.
Between A.D. 66 and A.D. 135 the Jews fought three fierce wars of independence. But each time they were defeated, and by A.D. 135 the Romans had had enough trouble. They were determined to stop these revolts once and for all.
With typical Roman thoroughness they utterly destroyed Jerusalem and ploughed up its site. Then they erased its name from their maps, and sent all the inhabitants of Judaea (the main part of the land of Israel) into exile.
And that, thought the Romans, was that.
But they were wrong. For century after century the Jews survived as a nation without a country. Wherever they went they were hated, treated as an inferior race, made to live in ghettos.
Take for example their history in just one country - England. We first hear of Jews coming to England in the reign of William the Conqueror. They were never made very welcome, and in 1190 a fearful wave of massacres spread from city to city, wiping out Jewish men, women and children.
For another hundred years the survivors lived an uneasy existence. Then, in 1290, Edward I expelled all the Jews from Britain.
In 1492 all Jews were expelled from Spain, and some of them came to live secretly in England, living in fear of their lives if they should be found out. It was not until 1656 that Jews were officially readmitted to England, by Oliver Cromwell.
Even then they were forced to accept the role of second-class citizens, somewhat like the coloured people in South Africa today. After many years of trying to obtain political freedom, it was only in 1858 that Jews were first allowed to sit in Britain’s parliament.
In other countries they often fared worse. As recently as the 1880s Jews had to flee for their lives from Russia; in the 1930s (if they were wise) from Germany.
In short, for seventeen centuries, on and off, the exiled Jews were persecuted, massacred, or made to flee for their lives from one country to another. Yet somehow they survived it all.
Then, at the end of the last century, nearly eighteen hundred years after their ancestors were exiled from it, a few Jews began to trickle back to their homeland. Within the twentieth century the Jewish population of the land of Israel has risen from a few thousand to more than two million. By 1948 the Jews there felt sufficiently powerful to proclaim their independence. The following year the sovereign state of Israel was admitted to membership of the United Nations.
History Written in Advance提前书写的历史
With this brief summary of Jewish history in mind, look at what the Old Testament said would happen to the Jews. As you read the following Bible passages, ask yourself: “Are these prophecies vaguely worded, or are they clear and plain? And have they been fulfilled, or not?”
(1) They would be scattered all over the world, hated, persecuted, and driven from country to country.
“The Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other.... Among these nations thou shalt find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest, but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes and sorrow of mind.
“And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee, and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life. ... And thou shalt become astonishment, a proverb and a byword among all nations whither the Lord shall lead thee.”1
(2) Meanwhile, their land, once so fruitful, would lie desolate.
“I will scatter you among the nations ... and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ land.”2
(3) They would survive all these troubles, and would actually outlive their persecutors.
“Though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee”3
“The children of Israel shall abide many days without a king and without a prince and without a sacrifice - . . Afterward shall the children of Israel return.”4
(4) Eventually, while still disobeying God, they would go back to their own land again.
“I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.”5
“I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for Mine Holy Name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the nations, whither ye went.... For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.”6
“ 主耶和华如此说：以色列家啊，我行这事不是为你们，乃是为我的圣名，就是在你们到的列国中所亵渎的……我必从各国收取你们，从列邦聚集你们，引导你们归回本地。”（ 以西结书36：22-24）
“It is even the time of Jacob’s (Israel’s) trouble, but he shall be saved out of it. . . . I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity, and Jacob shall return.”7
These seven extracts, taken from five different books, are typical of all Old Testament teaching about the future of Israel. Everyone, believer and unbeliever alike, agrees that the Old Testament was written before the time of Christ. Consequently, it is absolutely certain that the prophecies about the Jews were written hundreds of years before they were fulfilled.
For the prophecies about the exile of the Jews were not fulfilled until the second century after Christ. The prophecies about their wanderings were fulfilled continuously from the second to the nineteenth centuries. And the prophecies about the return of the Jews to their homeland were not fulfilled until the twentieth century.
For many centuries-since long before the prophecies about the Jews’ return to the land of Israel began to be fulfilled-men have marvelled at the way Bible prophecy and Jewish history have tallied. It is no wonder that when Frederick II of Prussia asked his physician for a proof that God exists, he replied, “The Jews, Your Majesty.”
在犹太人回到以色列这块土地的预言得到应验之前，在这段长达十几个世纪的日子里，人们就已经对圣经中关于犹太人的历史的预言中感到惊奇。难怪普鲁士国王弗雷德里克二世（Frederick II）询问他的医师关于 神存在的证据时，他回答说：“犹太人就是证明，陛下” 。
The broad correspondence between the prophecies and their fulfilment is wonderful enough. But some of the detail is enough to make the mind boggle.
In the first passage quoted above, Moses said, “thou shalt become a proverb and a byword among all nations.” How was he to know that, thousands of years later, Englishmen would use the expression, “You miserable old Jew!” when they wanted to condemn someone’s meanness? And that similarly, in nearly every major language on earth, “Jew” has been used as a term of contempt?
In the second passage, Moses declared that the land would lie desolate while the Jews were in exile. This was a most unlikely thing to suggest. It was then a prosperous, fertile land. If the Jews were driven out, you would expect their conquerors to take full advantage of their pleasant land. But did they? Listen to the words of one of Israel’s official historians, describing the period of Jewish exile:
“Meanwhile, the Land of Israel slumbered on and lay waste.
Of the ‘land flowing with milk and honey’, as it is so often lauded in Holy Writ, much became barren. The garden was now a desert and malarial swamps collected where once were smiling plains.”8
The third passage must have sounded equally preposterous when Jeremiah wrote it. God would do away with the mighty nations that persecuted Israel, but little Israel would outlive them all.
When the mighty Roman Empire crushed Jerusalem under its heel and made slaves of its inhabitants, a sacred copy of the Old Testament from the temple was carried in triumph to Rome. Just suppose that one of the Roman Emperor’s courtiers had read from that Book, and said to the most powerful man on earth, “O Caesar, it prophesies here that our great Empire shall come to an end, but that these miserable Jews will live on.” How the Emperor would have laughed! But the incredible prophecy came true.
Now look at the sixth passage quoted. It says that God would bring Israel back to their own land, not because of their godliness, but despite their ungodliness. What ordinary writer would have written such an unflattering thing about his countrymen? Yet, once more, every detail of the prophecy has come true, as the following incident shows.
现在来看看第6处刚才引用的圣经。它说, 神将带领以色列人回来，不是因为他们的心归向 神，而是“尽管他们的心依然没有归向 神”。普通人是不会写这些不讨好自己同胞事情的。然而预言的每一个细节再次得以实现。下面的一些小插曲也告诉我们的。
A few years ago I had dinner at a scientific conference in Italy with a world-famous scientist from Haifa, in Israel. I asked him what it felt like to be fulfilling Bible prophecy as a member of God’s own nation.
He gave a polite little laugh. “We don’t look at it like that,” he said. “Most of us who are building up the State of Israel are doing so for economic or political reasons, not because we have any religious convictions.”
His words are frequently confirmed by reports from journalists visiting Israel. For example:
“One can see that the founders of the political State of Israel were for the most part sceptics or non-practising Jews.
“Mrs Meir [the Prime Minister] told me, as she had said in the Knesset [Israel’s parliament] that she herself is ‘a non-observant Jewess’... Many of the Israelis one meets are lax in their practices and agnostic in their... views.”9
Why Hitler Failed希特勒为什么会失败
There is another kind of prophecy about the Jews that has been fulfilled again and again, at different periods of history. The most spectacular fulfilment of it occurred quite recently. It related to the late Adolf Hitler and his Nazis.
In the middle 1930s Hitler’s scheme to conquer the world was already in motion. By the summer of 1940s everything had gone according to plan. The whole of the mainland of Western Europe was bowing to the Nazis, and it looked as though the German war machine was unstoppable.
Yet within five years Hitler’s mutilated body lay in the ruins of his Berlin headquarters, and Nazi Germany was no more. What went wrong? How did Hitler fail, after coming so close to success?
Historians usually explain Hitler’s failure by listing a series of extraordinary blunders (like bombing British civilian targets instead of airfields in 1940, and invading Russia in 1941) when Hitler overruled the carefully laid plans of his own generals. But this only throws the problem a stage further back. Why did a brilliant leader like Hitler make so many fatal mistakes?
The real answer to these questions is a very simple one, but so unexpected that historians usually miss it. God had said of Israel:
“Cursed be every one that curseth thee,
And blessed be he that blesseth thee.”10
When the Nazi party adopted Hitler’s plan to wipe out the Jewish nation, it signed its own death warrant. God had warned the world that He would oppose those who opposed His nation, Israel. By murdering millions of Jews the Nazis were challenging the Almighty to His face. No wonder they lost the war!
纳粹德国在按照希特勒的计划清除犹太人的时候，他们也是在给自己下死亡通知书。 神已经向世人宣告，压迫 神的选民——以色列的，同样会被 神所咒诅。纳粹德国谋杀了数百万的犹太人，实际上是在向全能者挑战，难怪他们会输掉战争！
But the German nation as a whole was ashamed of what the Nazis had done to the Jews. After the war the new German government decided to make amends for Hitler’s crimes. At a time when they could ill afford to be so generous, the Germans made what has been called the greatest act of national generosity in all history.
Picture the situation in 1945. All over Germany, houses and factories lay in ruins. The cream of the nation’s youth was dead or in captivity. The country was bankrupt, the people were starving. The victorious allies were demanding compensation for what they had suffered. The future for Germany looked altogether hopeless.
Yet the West German Government decided, despite their own people’s desperate need for goods and money, to pay hundreds of millions of pounds in compensation to Jews who had suffered through the war. They did not lose by their generosity. The land that lay in ruins in 1945 was, by 1965, almost the richest in Europe.
Hitler had learnt that God keeps His threats: “Cursed be every one that curseth thee (Israel).”
Post-war Germany learnt that God also keeps His promises: ‘Blessed be he that blesseth thee.”
For Every Effect, A Cause 有结果必有原因
A very large number of scientists believe in God. There is a reason for this. America’s leading space scientist Dr. Wernher von Braun, has put it in a nutshell:
很多科学家相信 神。这是有原因的。美国最顶尖的航天科学家Wernher von Braun博士曾经对公众说：（本书的引用得到了他的许可）。
“One of the most fundamental laws of natural science is that nothing in the physical world ever happens without a cause. There simply cannot be a creation without some kind of spiritual creator.
- . . Anything as well ordered and perfectly created as is our earth and universe must have a Maker, a master designer.”11 (The italics are mine.)
Even if you are not yet ready to agree with von Braun’s conclusion about the existence of God, you are bound to accept his first sentence. Nothing ever happens without a cause. This is a fundamental law of science. It is also plain common sense.
Now apply this principle to the facts outlined in this chapter.
Thousands of years ago Moses, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Hosea (whose words have been quoted) and several other Old Testament prophets foretold the future history of the Jewish people. Their prophecies were expressed in clear language and were full of detail. Throughout the past two thousand years everything has happened just as they said it would.
This astonishing fact cries out for an explanation. “Nothing ever happens without a cause.” What was the “cause” that led all those Hebrew writers to foretell the history of their race with such uncanny accuracy?
Ask an atheist that question, and then watch his reactions. If he is an intelligent man, well informed of the facts, he is most unlikely to say, “Oh, it just happened.” He knows that would only invite the rejoinder, “If you can believe that, you can believe anything!”
Instead, he will probably look very learned, and suggest that it is “the natural outcome of the religious genius of the Hebrew race”. This sounds almost convincing-until you think about it. Then it reminds you of the Russian general who was asked by a Western journalist how the Russian engineers had succeeded in building rockets more powerful than anything the Americans had produced. He replied: “Quite simple. It is the inevitable consequence of a Marxist-Leninist society.”
Answers like that are clever. They sound very impressive. They completely dodge the awkward question. And they explain nothing.
Yet this sort of evasion is the only answer that you are likely to get from an atheist. I say this from personal experience, because in my younger days I spent many a Saturday afternoon on a soapbox at Speaker’s Corner in London’s Hyde Park, surrounded by crowds of atheists. Time and again I used to put forward these facts about the Jews, and challenge the audience to explain them. But never once did I get a reasonable answer.
No, there is only one answer that fits the facts. That is the answer given by the Bible itself:
“Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but (unless) He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets.”12
“And if thou say in thine heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken?’ When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken.”13
It is as if the Bible says to us: “I will prove to you that I am a message from Almighty God. False prophets cannot foretell the future. But God’s true prophets can. So I will foretell the whole history of the Jewish race.”
这好像是圣经对我们说：“我要向你证明这些信息是从全能的 神那里来的。假先知不能预知未来。来自 神的先知能够预知未来。因此我要预先告诉你关于犹太民族的整个历史”。
And it has.
More History Written in Advance
While the Old Testament was being written Israel was surrounded by a number of nations, most of which no longer exist. Some of them were great powers, like Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria and Phoenicia. Others were quite small nations (just as Israel herself was a small nation) such as Syria, Edom, Moab, and Ammon.
Israel had a great deal of contact with these nations. She traded with them; sometimes she went to war with them; and all too often she was corrupted by their idolatrous religions.
Consequently the prophets of Israel sometimes mentioned these other nations. They condemned them when they behaved wickedly, and occasionally praised them when they did what God required of them. And as with Israel, only much more briefly, their future history was sometimes foretold. Whenever such prophecies were made, as John Urquhart has shown,1 they were fulfilled with great accuracy.
A Tale of Two cities 有关两个城市的故事
Two of the most splendid cities of the ancient world were Babylon and Tyre. Babylon was the capital of the land we now call Iraq. Eventually she conquered so much territory that she ruled the mightiest empire the world had then seen. Tyre, a seaport, was the capital city of the Phoenicians. Her navy dominated the Mediterranean, and her traders owned the greatest fleet of merchant ships in the ancient world.
The Bible said plainly that each of these cities was to be punished for its wickedness. But the nature of their punishments was to be very different.
Babylon was to be destroyed, and to remain a collection of uninhabited ruins.
Tyre was also to be destroyed, but not to remain as ruins. In her case, the very stones of the city were all to be cast into the sea.
Here are the actual words of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel.
BABYLON: “And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom andGomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation. Neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there, neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there, and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures, and owls shall dwell there.”2
“It shall be no more inhabited for ever, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation. . .. And they shall not take of thee a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations, but thou shalt be desolate for ever, saith the Lord.... And Babylon shall become heaps, a dwelling place for jackals, an astonishment, and an hissing, without an inhabitant.”3
TYRE: “And they shall make a spoil of thy riches, and make a prey of thy merchandise. And they shall break down thy walls, and destroy thy pleasant houses, and they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water.... And I will make thee like the top of a rock. Thou shalt be a place to spread nets upon. Thou shalt be built no more.”4
关于推罗：“人必以你的财宝为掳物，以你的货财为掠物，破坏你的墙垣，拆毁你华美的房屋，将你的石头、木头、尘土都抛在水中。Eze 26:14 我必使你成为净光的磐石，作晒网的地方；你不得再被建造，因为这是主耶和华说的。”（以西结书26：12，14）
You can visit the sites of both these cities today, and see how precisely the prophecies have been fulfilled. Babylon, whose hanging gardens were once one of the seven wonders of the world, and whose surrounding countryside was then a fertile plain, now lies deserted.
Many other ancient cities have had modern cities built on top of them. But not Babylon. As far as the eye can see lie the deserted heaps of ruins, an archaeologist’s paradise, just waiting to be excavated. Not even a Bedouin encampment breaks the monotony, for the ruins are too inhospitable to provide grazing for their flocks, and in any case they have a reputation of being haunted. Only wild beasts and birds find a dwelling place among the fallen towers of Babylon.
Now read again the words of Isaiah and Jeremiah quoted above.
Ask yourself: how were they able to describe this scene so accurately? For more than a thousand years their words have, in effect, challenged the world: “Re-inhabit Babylon, and you will prove the Bible false!” But nobody has taken up the challenge.
If you wish to survey the ruins of ancient Tyre, however, you really should have a frogman’s suit. History tells how the ruins of the city really were cast into the sea, hundreds of years after Ezekiel had said they would be. In 332 B.C. Alexander the Great wanted to subdue an island fortress off the coast, near the ruins of the former city. He achieved his aim by building a causeway Out to the island, and he used the remains of ancient Tyre for material.
Every scrap of rubble from the ruins of Tyre was used by Alexander, so that the site really was, as Ezekiel put it, “made like the top of a rock”. Moreover, as the prophet foretold, the site of the old city was never built on again. The city of Tyre mentioned in the New Testament, and which still exists today, stands on an entirely different site.
When they were first uttered, these prophecies about Babylon and Tyre must have sounded most unlikely to be fulfilled. Yet fulfilled they were, down to the last detail.
World History in a Nutshell 简而言之的世界历史
One of the most fascinating prophecies in the whole Bible is contained in Daniel chapter 2. Here, in the space of only 49 verses, we are given a bird’s-eye view of world history, from about 600 B.C. down to the present day and beyond.
The late Mr. Henry Ford is often quoted as having said, “History is bunk.” But according to his friends, what he actually said was this:
“History as it is generally taught in schools is bunk.”
If this really was what he said, he was right. Badly taught history can be deadly dull. Perhaps this is why the history lesson-in-advance of Daniel 2 is given to us in such an unusual and interesting way. It is in the form of a parable. But we do not have to guess at its meaning. Like some of the parables of Jesus, this one is accompanied by an explanation.
You really ought to read the whole chapter for yourself. But in case you don’t feel like doing so just now, here is a summary.
King Nebuchadnezzar, ruler of the mighty Babylonian Empire, had a dream. It was a strange dream, and it worried him. He felt sure that it was no ordinary dream, but that it meant something. So he called for the royal astrologers and soothsayers and asked them to explain the dream.
The astrologers then made the obvious request. “Tell thy servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.”5
But the king was no fool. He was not going to play into their hands. Any self-styled magician with a good imagination could concoct an “explanation” if he were told the dream. So he put them to the test. “You show me the dream-and its interpretation!”6 he demanded. As an inducement to do so he added the interesting information that, if they failed, they would all be cut in pieces.
Fortunately for the gentlemen whose bluff had been called, there was a young Jewish captive in Babylon. He saved their lives (and his own) by going to the king and saying: “The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, show unto the king. But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the King Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days.”7
Daniel explained that what the king had seen was a great, fearsome statue of a man. But it was no ordinary statue. Its construction was weird and wonderful. It was like this:
(1) Its head was made of gold. 它的头是金的
(2) Its chest and arms were silver. 胸膛和膀臂是银的
(3) The lower part of the trunk and the thighs were brass. 肚腹和腰是铜的
(4) The legs were iron. 腿是铁的。
(5) The feet were an awkward mixture of iron and clay. 脚是半铁半泥的
The dreaming king had stared in wonder at this strange figure for a while. Then he noticed something beginning to happen. Some distance away from the statue a stone was being quarried. But there were no quarrymen to be seen. It was as if the stone were being carved out by invisible hands.
Then the fresh-hewn stone moved towards the statue, and struck it violently upon its brittle feet of iron and clay. This brought the statue crashing down, and then the stone attacked the ruins. It broke the gold, the silver, the brass, the iron and the clay into tiny pieces. Then the wind sprang up and blew all the debris away in a cloud of dust, so that the stone was left alone.
Finally, the triumphant stone began to expand. It grew and grew and grew until it had become a great mountain. Before the king awoke, he saw the stone become so vast that it filled the whole world.
“This is the dream, and we will tell the interpretation thereof”,8 said Daniel.
The king listened intently to Daniel’s explanation. He realised that Daniel was the possessor of superhuman knowledge. Within a few minutes the mighty man would be kneeling down before Daniel, and saying, “Of a truth, it is that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets.”9
Meanwhile, this was the secret that Daniel had revealed. The statue was a kind of “map” of world history, with a time scale running from top to bottom. Like any small-scale map, this one could not attempt to show any detail, but only the broad outline of history. And the outline was this:
(1) The golden head was Nebuchadnezzar’s own great empire.10
(2) His empire was to be followed by a second (the silver chest and Arms).11
(3) After that would come “another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth”.12
(Note how the words in italics show that Daniel is not talking about local kingdoms, but about what might be called “world empires”-bearing in mind that the known world in those days was a great deal smaller than it is today.) 接下来的另一个帝国，“就是铜的，必掌管天下。”（但以理书2：39）（请注意：但以理讨论的是当时的世界性帝国， 因为当时的世界要比今天世界小的多。）
(4) The iron represented a fourth great empire, which would be the strongest of them all.13
(5) But after this the world empire would be divided, never to be reunited by human hands. As Daniel put it, “The kingdom (empire) shall be divided . . as the toes of the feet were part of iron and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly broken... they shall not cleave (join) one to another, even as iron is not mixed (joined) with clay.”14
(6) Eventually, at a time when the world was still full of disunited nations, God would intervene. “In the days of these (disunited) kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed ... but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms and it shall stand for ever.”15
Has it Happened? 这些事情已经发生了吗？
Since God has not yet intervened openly in world affairs, Stage 6 must still lie in the future. But what of the first five sections of the prophecy; have they been fulfilled, or not?
We cannot all be historians, so we must compare the prophecy with a history book. H. G. Wells’ Short History of the World16 is doubly suitable for this purpose. First, because it is very brief (250 pages) 50 that, like Daniel 2, it gives a bird’s-eye view-”shorn of elaborations and complications”, as the author says in his preface. Secondly, since Wells was famous for his anti-religious views, we can be quite certain that he did not frame his book to fit Daniel 2.
我们不可能每个人都是历史学家，因此我们可以将历史学家威尔（H. G. Wells）写的世界简史（Short History of the World）和圣经进行对照。我选择这本书的原因，第一是这本书很简短，只有250页；其次，威尔以反对宗教信仰而闻名，因此我们可以肯定威尔的书不会故意按照但以理书第二章的框架来写。
Yet a careful look at the contents page of Wells’ book shows that he recognised four, and only four, great empires in the ancient world. Until modern times, when he speaks of the colonial “empires” of the European powers (which were, of course, quite unlike the world-empires of the past) the only chapter headings that mention empires are these:
XX The Last Babylonian Empire and the Empire of Darius I
XXVI The Empire of Alexander the Great
XXXIII The Growth of the Roman Empire
XXXV The Common Man’s Life under the Early Roman Empire
XXXVI Religious Developments under the Roman Empire
XXXIX The Barbarians Break the Empire into East and West
XL The Huns and the End of the Western Empire
XLI The Byzantine and Sassanid Empires
What are these empires that Wells mentions?
He begins, like Daniel, with the Babylonian Empire of Nebuchadnezzar.
His second empire is “the Empire of Darius I”. In the text of his book he explains that this was the Empire of the Medes and Persians, which swallowed up and succeeded the Babylonian Empire. A later chapter in Daniel17 also names the conquerors as the Medes and Persians, and their emperor as Darius.
Another chapter in Daniel18 stated that the Medes and Persians would be conquered in their turn by the Greeks. This ties up with Wells’ next chapter heading, “The Empire of Alexander the Great”, who was the greatest of the Greek rulers.
Fourthly, Wells comes to the Roman Empire, which was so important and lasted so long that it occupies several chapters. (A hint of its greatness was given by Daniel when he said, “the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron”.)
In Chapter xxxix Wells speaks of the splitting of the Roman Empire into two halves, East and West. Chapter XL tells what, happened to the Western Empire, and Chapter XLI the Eastern Empire (the Byzantine-Sassanid half of the Roman Empire). Here again is a remarkable correspondence with Daniel: the empire that ended its day split into two parts is represented in Daniel by two legs.
Daniel was quite emphatic that this fourth empire would be permanently divided. He was right. Wells’ book makes it perfectly clear that after the final extinction of Rome there has never been another all-powerful world empire.
But this conclusion-that the empire of Rome was the last world empire-is too important to rest upon the testimony of Wells alone. So here are some words by one of the greatest of all historians, Gibbon. He, like Wells, did not believe in the Bible, and certainly did not write this passage with the intention of supporting Daniel.
“The division of Europe into a number of independent states, connected, however, with each other by the general resemblance of religion, language and manners, is productive of the most beneficial consequences to the liberty of mankind. A modern tyrant... would soon experience a gentle restraint from the example of his equals, the dread of present censure, the advice of his allies, and the apprehension of his enemies.
... But the empire of the Romans filled the world, and when that empire fell into the hands of a single person, the world became a safe and dreary prison for his enemies.”19 (The italics are mine.)
Here, then, is another remarkable fact about the Bible that demands explanation. The prophet declared that there would be four world empires, and only four. A twentieth-century historian, unbeliever though he was, admitted that this has happened.
How did the prophet manage to foresee this? How did he know that the fourth empire would be the strongest of them all? That it would be divided into halves? And, above all, how did he know that never again would some power-hungry conqueror unite western civilisation under one rule?
The unbelievers’ attempts to explain the facts are pathetic. The best they can do is to argue (despite a lack of conclusive evidence) that the prophecy was not written by Daniel, but by an unknown forger writing in the days of the Greeks.
All this does is to evade the facts, not to explain them. Even if the unbelievers were right in saying that the book of Daniel was written in the third century B.C. instead of the sixth, what of it? That would still leave 2,200 years of fulfilled prophecy to account for!
Once again the only explanation that really fits the facts is the Bible’s own explanation: “There is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known... what shall be in the latter days.”20
我们会再次发现，只有圣经自己的解释才能符合事实：“那就是至大的 神把后来必有的事给王指明”。 （但以理书2：44）
Another Reason for Prophecy预言的另一个理由
The motto of one politician (his friends call him George) is this:
“When you can’t reasonably answer an opponent, poke fun at him. The audience will laugh, and forget that he has a better case than you.”
George, who is an unbeliever, applies the same tactics to the Bible. When he is faced with arguments based on fulfilled prophecy, he makes no attempt to answer them. He just grins, and talks like this.
“So the Bible is like a racing tipster, is it? The horsey fellow says, ‘I picked the winners of the last two races, didn’t I? So you can trust me to give you a good tip for the three-thirty’. And the Bible says, ‘I’ve foretold a few things about this world. So you can trust me to give you a few tips about the next.’”
Poor George. His crude caricature only reveals his complete ignorance of the Bible. For one thing, unlike the racing tipster, the Bible is right every time. But there is an even more important fallacy in his attitude. Bible prophecy is not just a matter of: “Such-and-such will happen; it has happened; therefore I was right.” Bible prophecy is not just a lot of bits and pieces. Bible prophecy is a vital part of God’s message to mankind.
From Genesis to Revelation the Bible tells one connected story. It starts with the creation of a beautiful world, and says how man brought tragedy into it. It goes on to explain how God introduced a wonderful Plan to put things right. How He first raised up a chosen people; then provided a Saviour from among the chosen race; then sent that Saviour’s followers to preach the gospel to all nations; and how at last that Saviour will return to earth, to judge the living and the dead, and to fill the earth with God’s glory.
从创世纪到启示录，圣经诉说的是一个完整的故事。它以创造一个美丽的世界开始，后来又告诉我们人类是如何将悲剧带进这个世界的。接下来解释 神如何实施一个奇妙的计划，让一切事情都回到正常的状态中来。 神从他选择的那个民族中差遣一位弥赛亚（救世主）到世界，这位救世主的追随者将福音传遍整个世界，最后这位救世主将来要再次降临在地球上，审判活人和死人，并且让“全地都充满 神的荣耀”。
But the Bible was not written all at once. It was written a book at a time, over a period of some fifteen hundred years.
During that time God’s Plan was steadily unfolding, step by step. And all the time the Bible was gradually telling how the Plan was getting on. It recorded each important step in the working out of the Plan. And it frequently foretold future developments in the Plan, many of which have already happened, although some have still to take place.
Now we can look at Daniel 2 in a new light. Previously it was nothing more than powerful evidence that “there is none like God, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done”.21 But now we can see it as a picture of human history guided by God, moving towards a wonderful climax.
The stone that grinds the statue to pieces, and then grows until it fills the whole earth, is Jesus Christ. He quoted the words of Daniel about that stone, and applied them to Himself.22 This last scene in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream will be fulfilled when Jesus returns to the earth.
But this is going too fast. There are many interesting Bible prophecies about the events leading up to Christ’s Second Coming. They must have a chapter to themselves.
And before the Second Coming there had to be a First Coming. The Old Testament is full of prophecies about that. We must have a look at those first.
Preview of Calvary
One evening a few years ago I carried out an interesting experiment. I was with a friend who did not believe the Bible, and, like most unbelievers, knew very little about it. But at least he was willing to discuss it.
So I said to him: “Excuse me, Arthur. Do you mind if I give you a little Bible quiz? I’d like to read to you a well-known Bible passage about Jesus, and then see if you can tell me whereabouts in the New Testament it comes from? Will you have a try?”
“O.K., I’m game. I don’t mind exposing my ignorance,” said Arthur. So I read him a few verses about the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ, and then stopped.
Arthur wrinkled his brows. “I know the words all right. But I’ve no idea which gospel they come from. Or maybe they even come from one of Paul’s epistles,” he added as an afterthought.
“No, they don’t originally come from any of those places, although they are quoted by several New Testament writers,” I said. “I was reading to you from the book of Isaiah, in the Old Testament.”
“In the Old Testament? You’re kidding!”
But I wasn’t kidding. I was satisfying myself that some of the Old Testament prophecies of Jesus really do fit Him so well that they can be mistaken for New Testament passages.
Jesus Knew About Prophecy耶稣知道关于他的预言
On a number of occasions Jesus reminded His followers that the Old Testament was full of prophecies about Himself. Here is just one example:
“He (Jesus) took unto Him the twelve, and said unto them, ‘Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished. For He shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on. And they shall scourge Him and put Him to death. And the third day He shall rise again.’”
Jesus was not exaggerating. Most of the dreadful things that happened to Him during the last twenty-four hours of His mortal life were foretold in the Old Testament. So was His resurrection, and His ascension to heaven, too. Yet the whole of the Old Testament was already yellow with age when Jesus was born.
You may perhaps wonder whether the early Christians might have cunningly altered the wording of the Old Testament prophecies, to make them fit the events. But there is no fear of that. The Christians kept their own copies of the Bible in the Greek language, while the Jews kept their copies of the Old Testament in Hebrew.
The best copies of the Old Testament, upon which our English Bible is based, are the Jewish ones. It is quite certain that the Jews would never have altered their copies of the Scriptures, so as to further the claims of a rival religion.
We need to look in detail at two of the chapters that Jesus would have had in mind. If you want to appreciate fully the wonder of these prophecies, turn them up in your own Bible. As you read them, keep asking yourself this question: how could the writers have foreseen these things, unless God inspired them?
PSALM 22 describes the Man of God being put to death by His enemies. Instead of using the common Jewish method of execution (stoning) they “pierce his hands and feet”.2 He is tormented by thirst as he dies.3 His enemies stand round him.4 They stare at him.5 They laugh at him.6 They jeer at him, asking why God does not rescue him.7 They strip off his clothes and share them out, casting lots for the odd one left over.8
诗篇22章描写了 神的儿子被敌人害死的情景。犹太人判处死刑的方法使用石头将罪犯砸死，但是耶稣死的时候，“犬类围著我，恶党环绕我；他们扎了我的手，我的脚。”。（诗篇22：16）他感到饥渴，“我的精力枯乾，如同瓦片；我的舌头贴在我牙床上。” （诗篇22：1）他的敌人站在他的周围，他们看着他，他们嘲笑他。“ 有许多公牛围绕我，巴珊大力的公牛四面困住我。” （诗篇22：16）他们讽刺他，问为什么 神不来救他。（诗篇22：1）“”他们嘲笑他说：“他把自己交托耶和华，耶和华可以救他吧！耶和华既喜悦他，可以搭救他吧！” （诗篇22：8）
If you are familiar with the gospels, you will recognise each of these details. It all adds up to a picture of Calvary, painted hundreds of years before it happened.
ISAIAH 53 fills in more of the details. He was to be “despised and rejected” by his fellow men, a “man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief”.9 He would be wounded and flogged,10 led as a condemned prisoner to his execution.11 Yet he would accept his fate meekly and without speaking in his own defence,12 although he was innocent of any crime.13
The chapter insists that this was not just another martyrdom. Seven times over (in verses 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11 and 12) it explains that this righteous man’s death would be an atonement for the sins of others. Because of this, God would raise him from the dead,14 and give him a position of great honour.15
这一章强调的不仅仅是耶稣的受难。有超过7节（4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11 和 12节）的篇幅解释了他是个完全的义人，他的死可以赎别人的罪。 因为这样， 神让耶稣从死亡中复活，并且给他极大的尊荣。
It is no wonder that when I read this chapter to Arthur, he thought it occurred in the New Testament. If it did so, people would accept it as a great piece of Christian literature, a beautiful poetic description of the sufferings of Jesus Christ. But it is not a Christian writing. It is found in the Old Testament, the Holy Book of the Jews - a nation that had always hated the thought of human sacrifice, and has never accepted Jesus.
The official Jewish interpretation is that this chapter describes the’ Jewish race, not Jesus. One look at the chapter is enough to show how absurd this interpretation is. Every verse fits Jesus; half of then could not possibly be applied to the Jews. Try fitting these extract to the Jews (or, for that matter, to any other nation):
“He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
“By his knowledge shall My Righteous Servant justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities.” (verse 11)
Even the Jews are not comfortable with their own interpretation. They dislike this chapter, and avoid reading it in their synagogue But though they try to ignore it they cannot destroy it. Isaiah 5 remains a lasting proof of the superhuman origin of the Bible.
Who Was Messiah? 弥赛亚是谁？
It is difficult for us to appreciate the full significance of these prophecies without knowing what the Old Testament word “Messiah” meant to the Jews at the time of Jesus. Even today, it still means quite a lot to them. A Jewish encyclopaedia says this about what it calls “Messianism”:
“The term ‘Mashiah’ is used in the Bible . . . it was applied an ideal king, who would bring salvation to Israel and a regeneration of the human race . .”16
Historians tell us that in the first century Israel was positively buzzing with excitement at the prospect of Messiah’s coming. They we convinced that the time for Messiah to appear was “now, or never”. Their conviction was based upon the following passage in the book of Daniel:
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off.”17
The Jews paid no attention to the words in italics, because they did not understand them. “Cut off” was a common Old Testament expression meaning “killed”,18 and the Jews did not see how Messiah could possibly be killed. They knew lots of splendid prophecies about the coming Messiah: he was going to be a great and glorious leader, the deliverer of Israel, and king of the whole world. So they turned a blind eye to the passages (including Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53) that spoke of Messiah’s death.
But what did excite them was Daniel’s promise that Messiah would appear some 69 or 70 “weeks” after the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem (which in Daniel’s day was lying in ruins). The Hebrew word for “week” is the ordinary word for “seven”, and they knew that in the prophets it could mean either seven days or seven years.19
So the Jews had long been waiting for Daniel’s period of 483 to 490 years (69 to 70 “weeks”) to elapse. They were not sure of the exact starting point of the prophecy, because there had been several “commandments to restore and to build Jerusalem” around the end of the sixth and the beginning of the fifth centuries B.C.
But one thing at least was clear to them: Messiah would have to come sometime in the earlier part of what we now call the first centuryA.D.
From Daniel 9, therefore, we can add two more to the growing list of prophecies fulfilled when Jesus first came:
(1) He came at just about the right time in history.他在已经预言的历史时刻出现。
(2) He was killed, just as Daniel foretold the Messiah would be. 他将被杀害，因为但以理书预言了这件事情会发生。
But, what is even more important, we have learnt something about the way the Jews understood the Old Testament. There are scores of Old Testament passages that speak about a Very Important Person who was to come. This Person was occasionally referred to as “Messiah” in the Hebrew Bible (although the word appears in the English Old Testament only in Daniel 9), but in most cases he is unnamed. Nevertheless the Jews accepted all these passages as prophecies of the Messiah
It is essential that we keep this fact in mind. Some of those passages may not look to an English reader as if they are prophecies of the Messiah. But the Bible was not written, in the first place, for English-speaking people. It was written by Hebrews, for Hebrews. And the ancient Hebrews had a very different literary style from modern Europeans.
The ancient Jews themselves had no doubt at all that those passages were prophecies of the Messiah. Consequently we are bound to take the Jews’ word for it, and look at the prophecies in the same way as they did.
More Prophecies of Messiah更多的关于弥赛亚的预言
There are so many of these prophecies that it is difficult to know when to stop. Here are five more to add to the list:
(1) He was to be born in Bethlehem.他出生在伯利恒
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”20
We all know that Jesus actually was born in Bethlehem. That an established fact. Even those arch-enemies of the Christian faith the Pharisees and Sadducees, never denied it. But has it ever occurred to you how unlikely it was for that prophecy to have been fulfilled by accident?
Bethlehem was, as the prophecy mentioned, a very small place. some unscrupulous gentleman wanted to establish a reputation for himself as a prophet, he might take a gamble and say, “The next president of the United States will be a man born in New York.” many leading Americans are New Yorkers that at least he would stand a sporting chance of being right.
But suppose that he said “The next president of the United States will be born in Piketon, Ohio.” Since Piketon has only a few thousand inhabitants the odds against his guess being right would be enormous. Yet Micah picked a similarly insignificant village as the birthplace of the Messiah-and his prophecy came true.
How did Micah manage it, unless he was inspired by God?
(2) He was to enter Jerusalem on an ass.耶稣骑着驴子进入耶路撒冷
I can imagine your reaction to that statement. “Well, so what? Lots of people entered Jerusalem on asses, didn’t they? Why shouldn’t Jesus do so, too-especially if He had read the prophecy that said He had to?”
For a very good reason. Lots of people did indeed enter Jerusalem on asses, but they were all ordinary, humble folk. Conquering kings were far too high and mighty to ride asses. They rode on mules warhorses, or in chariots. And the prophet said that it was as King of Jerusalem, King of the World, that Jesus would arrive at His capital city on a humble donkey. Here are Zechariah’s words:
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass . . . and he shall speak peace unto the nations, and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.”21
When these words were written, they would have seemed utterly ridiculous. What king would ever become “lowly, and riding upon an ass”? And if he ever did approach his capital in such an improper fashion, would his people “rejoice greatly” and “shout” their approval of such behaviour? How absurd it must all have sounded!
And yet, when it happened, it all seemed perfectly natural. Jesus was a poor man, a humble man, a man of peace. It would have been unthinkable for Him to have mounted a warhorse. Yet at the same time He had the bearing, the strength of character, the dynamic personality and the personal magnetism of a mighty king.
So when Jesus deliberately rode into Jerusalem in the way that Zechariah had said He must, nobody laughed. Instead, great crowds carpeted His path with their own clothing, and shouted their acknowledgement that He was their King.22
Without this response from the crowd, any attempt by Jesus to fulfil Zechariah’s prophecy would have been a farce. But as it turned Out, an utterly improbable prophecy came true.
(3) He was to be uniquely righteous.他是世界上唯一的义人
Suppose we ask the question: “Why should God bless Messiah so richly, by making him so much greater than anyone else?”
Several correct answers could be given. This is the reason given in Psalm 45:
“Thou art fairer than the children of men
Grace is poured into thy lips
Therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.”23
“Thou hast loved righteousness and hated wickedness
Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee
With the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”24
The answer is clear. God would bless Messiah so richly because of his perfect speech and his perfect behaviour. Consequently, only a perfect man could claim to be Messiah. An unrighteous self-styled Messiah would soon have been exposed as a fraud.
Jesus made this claim. “Which of you convicteth Me of sin?” He asked.25 No one took up His challenge.
His disciples, who knew Him intimately, were clearly convinced of His utter sinlessness. The whole Christian gospel of salvation was based upon a belief in a sinless sacrifice. As Peter put it:
“Ye were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot . . . who did no sin . . . For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust.”26
Now suppose that this had not been true. Suppose that Jesus had actually been as imperfect as everybody else. Isn’t it obvious that in that case Christianity would have been stillborn? The Pharisees and Sadducees stopped at nothing-not even at persecution and murder
-in their attempts to stifle the preaching of the early disciples. Yet they could have destroyed the very foundation of Christianity by bringing evidence that Jesus was a sinner.
But they failed to do it.
One answer stands out as being far more likely than any other. They could not. Jesus fulfilled the prophecy that Messiah would be a sinless man.
(4) He was to rise from the dead 他将来要从死亡中复活。.
Did Jesus rise from the dead? This question is so important that a whole chapter must be devoted to it. For now, it is enough to put on record that the Old Testament prophesied that He would.
“My flesh also shall rest in hope
For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell,
Neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Thou wilt shew me the path of life.
In thy presence is fulness of joy;
At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”27
This prophecy is easier to understand in the original Hebrew than in the English. The word translated “hell” in the second line is the Hebrew word Sheol which simply means “the place of the dead”. In about thirty places in our Old Testament it is translated “the grave”.
As the Apostle Peter pointed out28 the Psalm clearly means that, although Messiah would be buried, his body would not rot away in the grave. He would be raised up by God to a new life of everlasting Joy
正如使徒彼得指出的（使徒行传2：22-24），诗篇清楚地告诉我们，尽管弥赛亚会被埋葬在坟墓中，他的身体却不会再坟墓中腐烂。他会被 神复活，而且 神将赐给他永远喜乐的新生命。
At this stage you must reserve your judgement as to whether this prophecy was fulfilled, or not. After you have read Chapter 7, you may be able to decide.
(5) He was to ascend to heaven.他要升到天堂。
Another prophecy which must have been impossible to understand at the time was written by King David:
“The Lord said unto my lord, ‘Sit thou at My right hand, Until I make thine enemies thy footstool’.”29
“The Lord hath sworn and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever
After the order of Melchizedek.”30
The astonishing thing about this Psalm of David is that it exists in the Jewish scriptures at all. Humanly speaking, it has no business to be there. From a Jewish point of view, it should never have been written, or, if written, it should have been burnt at once, as heresy.
Many prophecies declare that Messiah was to be a descendant of David. In accordance with oriental custom, this meant that he should be subordinate to David. Yet in the opening line, David refers to Messiah as “my lord”.
Whatever made David do that? Jesus asked this question of the rabbis, and they could not answer.31 It did not make sense to them.
The next two lines were (and still are) equally baffling to the Jews. Since Messiah is to be king of the world, why should he have to ascend to heaven and wait there for some time before being given power on earth?
The last three lines of the passage quoted above are even more surprising, if you know the Old Testament background. This Messiah who Sits in heaven is to be an everlasting priest, “after the order of Melchizedek”.
The point of this is that Messiah, like all Jewish kings, had to be of the tribe of Judah. But Jewish priests could only come from the tribe of Levi, and consequently a king could not possibly be a priest. King Uzziah tried to do a priest’s job once, and God immediately punished him for it.32
How, then, could Messiah be a priest? The answer lies in the reference to Melchizedek. This man is mentioned only once before in the Bible, and that in the very beginning, way back in the book of Genesis. Melchizedek was a priest to Abraham, and he was also a king.33
Moreover, as one New Testament writer pointed out,34 he was an even greater man than Abraham who paid him tithes. Consequently his priestly order must have been far higher than that of the priests descended from Abraham.
The priests of Israel must have winced every time they read that psalm. It was both baffling and painful. It implied that their own order of priesthood would come to an end, and give way to a greater order when Messiah came. Yet those same priests had somehow been compelled to keep that uncomfortable psalm for centuries, safely preserved along with the rest of their Scriptures.
Once more we have a strange fact that demands an explanation. How did a psalm that could never have made sense to its writer come to be written? How did it come to be accepted as part of the Jewish Scriptures? Why did the priests, who must have found it so embarrassing-mg, keep it and not destroy it?
And above all, how does it happen that the events recorded in the New Testament fit the psalm so perfectly? That they, and they alone, bring the psalm to life and fill it with meaning?
I have heard only one explanation that fits all the facts. The psalm must be a prophecy given by God. The New Testament account of Jesus ascending to heaven, to be a priest for His followers and to await the time of His Second Coming, must be true.
Taking Stock 事实归纳
Some very important facts have been established in this chapter.
There is clear evidence that most of the main events described in the gospels were foretold in the Old Testament. These include the crucifixion (with very much detail), the approximate date of Christ 5 appearance, His birthplace, the extraordinary nature of His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, His perfect character, His resurrection, His ascension to heaven, His heavenly priesthood, and the promise of His Second Coming.
How do the unbelievers explain these facts?
Not very well. I think I am being fair to them in saying that these are the alternatives they offer you:
(1) Perhaps Jesus deliberately fulfilled the prophecies.可能是耶稣故意使预言得到实现
One theory is that He spent years swotting up the Old Testament until He knew all the Messianic prophecies, and then went around fulfilling them. But this bristles with difficulties. To begin with, how did Jesus contrive to get Himself born in Bethlehem? How did He manage to achieve what no other human being has managed: a sinless life? Did He really arrange to be tortured to death, just because prophecy required it? And if so, how did He persuade His executioners to comply with all the detailed requirements of the prophecy? And what about His resurrection and ascension to heaven?
Obviously that won’t do.
(2) Perhaps the early Christians twisted the Old Testament.可能是早期的基督徒歪曲了旧约
It has been suggested that the first Christians “saw” prophecies in the Old Testament where no prophecies really existed-that they twisted the meaning of the Old Testament to bolster up their own preaching.
But that won’t do, either. The early Christians interpreted their Old Testament in the same way that Jews had always done. Even the unbelieving Jews never denied that the Old Testament was full of Messianic prophecies. The Jews merely denied that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, because He did not behave as they thought the Messiah ought to behave.
(3). Perhaps the early Christians distorted the facts of history .有可能是早期的基督徒歪曲了历史事实
According to this theory the events recorded in the gospels never took place at all. This treats the New Testament as nothing more than a collection of legends, compounded to make it look as if Old Testament prophecy was being fulfilled.
That was a popular excuse in Queen Victoria’s day, but it does not hold water nowadays. We know now that the gospels were written while plenty of eyewitnesses were still alive. (Chapter 16 gives the evidence for this.) And besides, the moral tone of the New Testament is so high that it simply cannot be the work of men who cooked up stories to deceive the public.
Well, what do you think?
Which is easier? Which is more reasonable?
To believe that the prophecies of the Old Testament were fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth?
Or to believe the feeble explanations of the unbelievers?
Jesus Foretells Twentieth-Century Problems
Very few people ever think of Jesus Christ as a prophet. Yet He was. He made many predictions about the future, all of which have either come true already, or are beginning to come true now.
Some of His predictions must have sounded utterly improbable at the time He made them. Yet they came true. Take this one, for instance:
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations.”1
When Jesus spoke those words, He had only a handful of followers, and those were mostly uneducated working-class men. He had completely failed to convert His own small nation. The ordinary people were mostly unmoved by His message, and the leaders hated Him like poison. Within a few weeks they would have Him hanging on a cross.
By all the laws of human probability, that should have been the end of it. Those who watched Him die must have thought, “Well, we shan’t hear any more of Him and His confounded gospel!”
But they were wrong. Within their own lifetime, His gospel was being preached over most of the Roman Empire. Since then it really has been preached to every nation on earth-the only religion that has. The words of Jesus have been translated into more than a thousand different languages.
Bibles by the million are spread abroad each year. They go by ship to the tropics, by air to the arctic, by rail and road and forest trail to the farthest corners of the earth. Brave men and women risk life and liberty smuggling Bibles into the communist countries of Eastern Europe.
Facts and Fashions事实和潮流
Yes, Jesus was a prophet whose words came true. This is a good reason for listening carefully to what He has to say about our own day.
But first, a word of warning. Fashions come and fashions go. Yet facts are stubborn things. Facts remain the same while fashions change and change.
And fashions are not restricted to the way people dress. There are changing fashions in the way people behave and think. There are even fashions in scientific thought and in religious outlook.
So beware of thinking that today’s fashion is necessarily right. Remember that tomorrow’s fashion will probably be quite different. “Everybody’s doing it” may be a good excuse for going along with the crowd, but it is a very poor reason.
A hundred years ago it was quite fashionable to believe in the Second Coming of Christ. Today it is fashionable to ridicule the idea of the Second Coming.
But what of it? Don’t let the fashion-mongers beguile you. It is only the fashion that has changed. The basic facts are the same as they always were. And such new facts as have come to light in recent years make it easier to believe in the Second Coming, not harder.
The first great fact is that Jesus promised, very plainly and emphatically, that He would come again.
The second great fact is that He described what would be happening in the world at the time of His return.
And the third great fact is that the events He foretold are developing in our world today.
So don’t be put off by the force of public opinion. Remember how often in the past public opinion has been proved wrong. The facts are so important that they deserve to be looked at squarely, to see what lies behind them.
Do not be put off, either, because in the past a number of cranks have believed in the Second Coming, and have persuaded some people to do some very foolish things. There have always been plenty of unbalanced people in the world, but their foolish actions are best forgotten.
Quite a lot of lunatics killed themselves trying to fly before aircraft were invented-but that is no reason to dispute the fact of modern aviation. Similarly, quite a number of poor deluded people have been known to dispose of all their possessions and climb a mountain “to wait for Jesus”-but that is no reason to dispute the actual facts about the Second Coming.
World in a Mess 困境之中的世界
We had better face it: the world is in a terrible predicament. While life in our affluent society goes gaily on, the most appalling forces are building up behind the scenes. The world is heading, helter-skelter, for a crisis too horrible to contemplate.
But we must contemplate it for a few moments, however horrible it may be, because there is no other way to get at the facts. Here, then, is a summary of the six great problems facing the world today.
(1) Terrible Weapons. On August 6th 1945 the Japanese city of Hiroshima was wiped out by an atomic bomb. The same day Sir Winston Churchill made a statement about it, which was published a few days later in a British Government white paper. His statement ended like this:
“We must indeed pray that these awful agencies will be made to conduce to peace among the nations, and that instead of wreaking measureless havoc upon the entire globe, they may become a perennial fountain of world prosperity.”2
But the bomb that filled Churchill with awe and dread seems like a mere firework compared with the bombs of today. In 1968 Lord Ritchie-Calder did a few sums, and estimated the explosive power of all the atomic weapons existing then. It worked out at the equivalent of 100 tons of old-fashioned explosive (TNT) for every man, woman and child on earth.3
To put it another way, if we assume, that the average street has 200 people living in it, then there was already enough atomic explosive in 1968 to provide one Hiroshima-sized bomb for every street in the world.
But bombs are not all. Nobody knows what horrors are being prepared in the secret germ-warfare laboratories of the great powers. A few years ago a British scientist in one of these labs died from a new germ he had helped to cultivate. “Good job he didn’t sneeze before he died,” a colleague is reported to have said. “He might have started an epidemic that would have wiped out the human race.”
One thing is quite certain. World war would mean world catastrophe. The vital question is: can man preserve world peace?
(2) Political Tension. The goal of all communists has always been clear. They are determined to turn the whole world communist. America and the Western Powers are equally determined to stop them. Unless one side gives way, sooner or later a head-on collision must occur. And so far neither side shows any sign of giving in.
The danger of all-out war between Russia and China is also much greater than most people realise. In a book with the grim title, The Coming War Between Russia and China,4 a foreign affairs expert reveals the frightening facts. Communists always have quarrelled among themselves, and the two great communist countries are already fully prepared to fight each other with atomic weapons.
(3) Exploding Populations. More than half the population of the world is underfed now. Every year there are fifty million more mouths to feed. In thirty-five years time the world’s population is expected to be double what it is today.
It is the poor nations whose populations are growing the fastest.其中穷国的人口增加速度最快。
Every year they grow poorer, while the rich nations grow richer. Sooner or later the cry is bound to come, “Shall we starve-or fight?”
(4) Plundered Resources. Man has already cut down more than half the world’s forests, and turned vast areas of fertile land into desert. He is exterminating much of the earth’s wildlife, and using up mineral deposits at an alarming rate. As the world’s remaining resources dwindle, nations will become more and more tempted to fight for what is left.
(5) Pollution. Man has turned many of the world’s rivers into sewers, and one of its greatest lakes into a cesspool where few fish can survive. By filling the air with fumes he has impaired the health of millions, and is in danger of changing the climate of the whole planet. If he goes on like this for another century, man could easily make the earth uninhabitable.
(6) Loss of Moral Sense. A little while ago I met a Chinese scientist from Formosa. “What’s the religious situation in the more prosperous parts of Asia today?” I asked him over lunch.
“Just the same as it is in Europe,” he replied. “Many people still claim to hold the old Eastern religions, just as England still calls itself a Christian country’. But as with you, so with us: the old religions no longer mean anything to most people. We have our ‘permissive society’ just like yours.”
When faith goes, morals are bound to slip. So all the advanced nations have a crime wave, rapidly growing problems of alcoholism, drug addiction and juvenile violence.
One day in 1969 the police in Montreal went on strike for just twelve hours. Yet that was long enough for the city to be terrorised, when thousands of normally law-abiding citizens went berserk. The “civilised” world today is only one step away from a return to the jungle.
Jesus Answers a Question耶稣对一个问题的回答
“Well, so what?” said my friend Norman one day, when I was telling him about these things. “The world’s in a mess, right enough. But then it’s often been in a mess. Jesus didn’t need to be a prophet to foretell that the world would have a load of trouble. Anybody could have foreseen that. And, anyway, what makes you think it was our particular, twentieth-century, mess that Jesus spoke about?”
There is a very satisfactory answer to Norman’s question. To appreciate it we must take a close look at what Jesus said, and how He came to say it.
One day, not long before He was crucified, His disciples referred to the magnificent Temple that was Jerusalem’s pride and joy. Jesus startled them by commenting that it was going to be utterly destroyed.
So they asked Him the obvious question-when? And then they added a second question. They said:
“Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?”5
In reply Jesus talked at great length. He described how there would be a period of trouble for the nation, and of persecution for His disciples. Then, He said, an enemy army would besiege Jerusalem, and terrible events would follow.6 He continued:
“For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.”7
The words in italics are very important. When Jesus spoke of things “written”, as He did many times, He always meant “written in the Old Testament”. Many Old Testament prophecies about the Jews were quoted in Chapter 2 of this book. Jesus was evidently referring to them, and others like them. He said that all of those things must be fulfilled.
If you refer back to Chapter 2 you will see that those prophecies about the Jews were in three groups: (1) Expulsion, (2) A long period of exile, (3) Return to their homeland. In the next verse but one, Jesus summarised all those Scriptures which “must be fulfilled”:
“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations [that is (1), Expulsion] and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles [that is (2), A period of exile] until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”8
The key word “until” implies that the Gentiles would not always occupy Jerusalem. This was Christ’s way of referring to the third group of Old Testament prophecies, which spoke of the Jews eventually returning to their homeland. He spoke another two verses describing the state of the world at that future day, and then made a momentous promise:
“And then shall they see the Son of Man [Himself] coming in a cloud, with power and great glory.”9
In other words, Jesus taught that when the Jews went back to their homeland (and Jerusalem in particular) His Second Coming would soon follow.
This is how we know that Jesus was speaking of our day. For about 1800 years the Jews lived in exile. About seventy years ago they began to go home. In 1948 the State of Israel was set up. In 1967 Israel captured the Old City of Jerusalem (they already owned the New City). At last Jerusalem was no longer “trodden down of the Gentiles”.
Whether we agree with Israel’s policy of occupying Arab lands is beside the point. What matters is that Christ’s words unmistakably give us one vital piece of information. Recent events in the Holy Land have provided a sure sign that Christ’s return is near.
Do not be surprised if some other great changes have taken place in the land of Israel by the time you read these words. These are to be expected. For example, Ezekiel said that after God’s unworthy people had returned to their land, something miraculous would happen to convert them:
“I will gather you out of all countries and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.”10
How was the ungodly nation of Israel going to be changed so suddenly? Another prophet explains:
“I will save my people from the east country and from the west country, and I will bring them and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem . . . And I will pour upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him... And one shall say unto him, ‘What are these wounds in thine hands?’ Then he shall answer, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends’.”11
So that is how the unbelieving Israelis are to be converted so suddenly. Their Messiah will come to them. If you read the whole of Zechariah 12 you will see that he is to come to save them from a national disaster, which might even involve them in military defeat and a temporary captivity.
This will be the most poignant moment in Israel’s 4,000-year history. They look at this Messiah who has just delivered them from their misery. They see he bears the marks of crucifixion. At long last the truth dawns upon them. and the Jews finally accept Jesus as their Messiah.
Meanwhile, in the World Outside...与此同时,在外面的世界
But this has been looking ahead. The return of Jesus is near, but it is still future. Our task at the moment is to see what Jesus says about our day, the time after the Jewish return to Jerusalem (reference 8, above) and before the Second Coming (reference 9). I left out the two verses separating those two passages. They said:
“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity,the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth. For the powers of heaven shall he shaken.”12
Each phrase here is full of meaning. But it is no use looking at them with twentieth-century European eyes, and guessing at the meaning that seems likely to us. These words were spoken to first-century Jews, men steeped in Old Testament knowledge. We need to ask ourselves, “How would they have understood Christ’s words?” The answer undoubtedly is, “In the light of the Old Testament passages that Jesus was referring to.”
It is therefore necessary to examine each phrase in that light.
First, “Signs in the sun, moon and stars”. This language was a familiar Old Testament figure of speech for national disaster. Isaiah used it of the military conquest of Babylon13 and Ezekiel of the military defeat of Egypt.14 But it is the prophet Joel to whose words Jesus is most probably referring. Joel uses similar expressions twice:
once of the disaster coming upon Israel15 and again of the disaster coming upon the whole world.16 But in both chapters Joel is speaking of “the day of the Lord”, when Israel shall return to their land17 and Messiah shall appear to establish God’s kingdom.18
Evidently by this expression Jesus was saying, “The great world disaster foretold by the Prophets will burst upon the world.”
His next phrase: “Upon the earth, distress of nations, with perplexity.” Again He refers to the Old Testament prophecies about His Second Coming, such as one in Daniel that says it would be accompanied by:
“A time of trouble such as never was, since there was a nation to that same time.”19
A standard authority on the Greek language20 says that Christ’s word “perplexity” means, in the Greek New Testament, “a state of not knowing which way to turn”. This describes exactly the position of the world’s governments today. They know the problems threatening the human race with extinction. But they do not know which way to turn to solve them.
H. G. Wells spoke for many of his fellow unbelievers, when he wrote in his last book:
“This world is at the end of its tether. The end of everything we call life is close at hand and cannot be evaded - . - there is no way out, or round, or through the impasse. It is the end.”21
If he had not been an unbeliever, you might almost think that Wells was deliberately echoing Jesus - “not knowing which way to turn”.
The next words of Jesus are puzzling to many Western minds: “The sea and the waves roaring”. To the careful Bible reader they present no difficulty. Behind them lies the figurative language of Isaiah, who likened the behaviour of masses of wicked people to the raging of a restless sea.22 If world catastrophe occurs, and law and order breaks down, it is not difficult to visualise the “roaring waves” of mob violence that will follow.
No wonder that Jesus continues, “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” It only needs one newspaper headline, such as, “American Ultimatum to Russia Expires at Midnight!” for those words to start coming true.
The verses quoted conclude, “for the powers of the heavens shall be shaken”. This also is well-established Old Testament language, used to describe governments crashing under the impact of war.23
What does all this add up to? That Jesus foretold, in language that was perfectly clear to the Jews who first heard Him, and that can be equally clear to us if we trouble to get acquainted with the figures of speech used in the Old Testament, a world just like ours.
He said, in effect, that in the days when the Jews went back to the Land of Israel, the world would be facing frightful problems. World catastrophe would be looming up, but men would not know how to prevent it. When disaster came, governments would fall, law and order would go, mob violence would take its place. And then-thank God-He would return “to destroy them which destroy the earth” (to quote a phrase used in another New Testament book).24
How did Jesus manage to foretell so clearly the problem facing our world?
This is the explanation He gave Himself:
“The word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent me.”25
Can you think of another explanation that fits the facts so well?
The right hand man of Jesus was His apostle, Peter. After Jesus left the scene, Peter became a leader of the Christian church. He wrote two books of the New Testament, and in one of them he enlarged on the Master’s prophecy about our age. He said:
“In the last days mockers shall come with mockery) walking after their own lusts and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming, for from the day that the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation’. For this they wilfully forget, that by the Word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water, whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished. But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same Word, are kept in store reserved unto fire against the Day of Judgment - . The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat”.26
The words printed in italics show that Peter foresaw four distinct features about our age.
(1) Men would mock at the idea of Christ’s return, They do mock, don’t they? So much so that I had to appeal to you at the beginning of this chapter not to follow the fashion, but to give the facts a fair hearing.人们会讥笑耶稣会来的观点。 在现实生活中我们确实看到这些嘲笑的声音，难道不是吗？ 在本章中我一开始就呼吁您不要随着潮流的风向变化，要留心事实。
(2) Their excuse would be, “All things continue as they were.” In other words, “Natural laws carry on without changing; why should we believe that a Creator ever has intervened in the world’s affairs, or will do so again?” 他们的理由是：“万物与起初创造的时候仍是一样”，用另外的话来说，“自然法则一直运行不息，没有改变，为什么我们要相信有一位造物主曾经干预世界事务，或者是将来还要这样做？”
Only a scientist could be expected to recognise this as a remarkable prophecy. But it is. As Col. Merson Davies, a scientist of some distinction (he was awarded two doctorates for research in geology) has pointed Out, Peter’s words exactly describe the modern scientific principle of “uniformitarianism” (or “uniformity”, if you prefer short words to long ones).27
“Uniformity” is the foundation upon which the science of geology, and much else besides, is built. It leads directly to the popular philosophy, “Evolution has explained everything-therefore we needn’t believe in God any more. Hooray!”
“Uniformity” is very much a modern invention. It was totally opposed to the thinking of the world in which Peter lived. Yet Peter foresaw its uprise, many centuries beforehand.
(3) Men would deny that the Flood ever occurred. This also was a most unlikely prophecy when it was written. Until a couple of hundred years ago the reality of Noah’s Flood was never questioned. Yet today it is fashionable to regard it as a myth. Peter foresaw this complete change of thought, more than a thousand years before it began. 人们会故意否认曾经发生过的大洪水。彼得在写这些话的时候，似乎也是最不太可能发生的事情，因为两百年以前，没有人质疑挪亚时代的大洪水，直到现代人流行将大洪水看成是一种神话。彼得在几千年以前就已经预见了人们的思想变化。
(4) The final world catastrophe would be associated with fire. This also is a surprising prophecy. The Old Testament which Peter knew so well generally associated the future world-wide catastrophe with war.26 In Peter’s day war was a matter of iron blades and flowing blood. How did he know that in our day the whole image of war would be different? 世界末日的灾难与火有关。这也是令人惊讶的。旧约通常将未来的世界大灾难和战争联系在一起的。（例如以西节书36-39；约饵书2，3；撒迦利亚书14）彼得非常熟悉这一点，在他的年代，战争是冷兵器时代。他是怎样想象将来战争的形态是完全不同的？
First, firearms; then incendiary bombs; then napalm; finally, The Bomb. These have entirely changed the image of war. Now, more than anything else, we associate war with fire. How did Peter know that modern weapons would make “the elements melt with fervent heat”?
Once again the decision is up to you. This book can only put the facts before you. You are the one who must weigh them in your mind, and try to reach a decision.
Is there some other explanation for these facts?
Or did Jesus, and Peter, and the prophets of the Old Testament, really foresee the frightful predicament of our generation? And if so, can’t we trust them as true prophets, and believe that God who foresaw our problems will solve them for us as He promised-by sending Jesus back to put the world right?
Who Could Have Invented Jesus?
Now we have left the evidence of fulfilled prophecy behind, and must go on to look at a very different kind of evidence. This will involve making a study of Jesus Christ Himself.
“Ah,” you may say, “but this begs the question. How do we know that there ever was such a person? What’s the use of assuming that the gospels tell the truth about Jesus, and then building conclusions on such a shaky foundation?”
Quite so. Very true. And I have no intention of doing any such thing. All I shall assume is that the gospels are either fact, or fiction, or a mixture of the two. (You won’t disagree with that, will you?) Then we shall examine the gospels critically to see which of those three alternatives seems most likely. Fair enough?
But before we begin, it is worth noting that even unbelievers generally recognise that the gospels are not pure fiction. One of the most learned of all unbelievers was Sir James Frazer. His classic history of magic and religion, The Golden Bough, was a landmark in twentieth century scholarship. He wrote:
在开始之前我们有必要注意，即使是不相信圣经的人通常也不认为福音书纯粹是虚构的。James Frazer爵士是一位非常有学识的人，他的有关历史和宗教的经典剧作《The Golden Bough》，是二十世纪标志性的学术著作。他写道：
“My theory assumes the historical reality of Jesus of Nazareth as a great religious and moral teacher [not, you will notice, as the Son of God] who founded Christianity and was crucified at Jerusalem under the governorship of Pontius Pilate. The testimony of the gospels, confirmed by the hostile evidence of Tacitus (Ann. 15,44) and the younger Pliny (Epist. 10,96) appears amply sufficient to establish these facts to the satisfaction of all unprejudiced enquirers. It is only the details of the life and death of Christ that remain, and will probably always remain, shrouded in the mists of uncertainty. The doubts which have been cast upon the historical reality of Jesus are, in my judgment, unworthy of serious attention. Quite apart from the positive evidence of history and tradition, the origin of a great religious and moral reform is inexplicable without the personal existence of a great reformer.”1 (The italics are mine.)
“我自己的理论把拿撒勒人耶稣看成是一个历史真实人物，也是伟大的宗教和道德教师（请注意，他没有说耶稣是 神的儿子”），他建立了基督教，并且后来在耶路撒冷被罗马总督比拉多钉死在十字架上。有福音书的以及塔西佗（古罗马元老院议员, 历史学家）提供的书面材料可以证明。这些证据可以满足所有怀有偏见的怀疑者的质疑。只有耶稣的出生和死亡细节是一个谜，也许永远会是一个谜。这些谜团并不能否认耶稣是一个真实的人物，我认为怀疑者论的观点不值得严肃的关注。除了历史和传统的正面证据以外，基督教的起源和道德革命证明了一定存在着一位伟大的改革者。
Inventing the Uninventable 发明不可能发明的
About 500 years ago there lived in Italy one of the greatest geniuses of all time, Leonardo da Vinci. Besides painting some of the world’s greatest pictures, he was a research scientist of the first rank. He is often said to have “invented” the aeroplane, the steamship, and the submarine.
Perhaps “invented” is too strong a word, because he never built any such machines. He did, however, first hatch out the ideas that hundreds of years later led to the development of those modern marvels. So we can give him the benefit of the doubt and say that, in a sense, he did invent them.
His inventions were brilliant, but not impossible. All the background knowledge that he needed was to hand. But there were certain things that he did not invent, because in his day they were uninventable. He could not invent a heart-lung machine, because he did not know about the circulation of the blood; more than a century was to elapse before Harvey discovered that. Nor could Leonardo invent an atom bomb, because he regarded matter as solid stuff; until modern scientists discovered that atoms were not solid lumps after all, but hollow spheres peppered with electric particles, the atom bomb was uninventable.
Now the argument I shall put forward in this chapter is this: the Jesus of whom we read in the gospels was, at the time the gospels were written, uninventable. Consequently the Jesus of the gospels must have been a historical character, not a fictional one.
The first thing to note is that nobody wanted a person like the Jesus of the New Testament. (To avoid repetition I shall not keep saying “the Jesus of the New Testament” but simply “Jesus”-while, for the time being, leaving completely open the question whether He was a historical character or a fictitious one.) Paul summed up the situation when he wrote:
“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Gentiles foolishness.”2
Nearly all the Jews had no time for Him. They were bigots, completely set in their religious ways. This man turned all their religious ideas upside down. He was nothing like the conquering king of a Messiah that they wanted. No Jew would have wanted to invent such an improbable, unacceptable kind of Messiah.
Nearly all the Gentiles had no use for Him, either. He was altogether unlike the kind of men they admired. Theirs was a cruel, selfish, lustful world. Human life was cheap. They would leave unwanted babies (girls, usually) to die with as little compunction as we drown unwanted kittens.
Their pleasures were mostly immoral ones: watching gladiators fighting to the death, or worshipping at idolatrous temples which were often only glorified brothels. It is hard to imagine any Gentile inventing a Jesus whose teaching was so full of condemnation for the Gentile way of life.
Into this harsh world came Jesus, teaching things that made men marvel. He preached the necessity of unselfish love, love that stopped at nothing, love that led men to lay down their lives rather than use force against others. He preached it, and He set the example Himself. He refused to defend Himself, or even to let His disciples defend Him.3 Instead, He went meekly to a horrible death.
We are not now concerned with the weighty question of whether Christians today should be pacifists. My personal opinion is in favour of Christian pacifism today, but that is beside the point. At the moment we are not concerned with opinions but with facts. The relevant facts are:
(1) That Jesus introduced to a hostile world the entirely new teaching of “Love to the uttermost”. 耶稣在一个充满敌对思想的世界宣传“没有限度的爱”。
(2) In keeping with this, He and His apostles preached pacifism. 4
(3) He constantly lived up to His own teaching, even though it led Him to a cruel death.
(4) There is plenty of historical evidence that the early Christian Church followed His difficult teaching, including pacifism.5
It is not surprising that the originator of these unpopular teachings made few converts at first. In the very early days Christianity was a small sect “everywhere spoken against”.6 It was an unpopular minority religion.
True, by the fourth century it had grown great. But only because the standards had been lowered, the fine new teaching had been watered down. Yet even despite this watering down, despite the wickedness that has been done in the name of Christ by millions of unworthy professors of Christianity-despite everything, the teaching of Jesus has met the world’s need.
Where men have truly followed the teaching of the gospels, all that is best in the sad story of mankind has followed. Even unbelievers admit that. Here are the words of a famous American who did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God, Theodore Parker:
“Consider what a work his [Christ’s] words and deeds have wrought in the world. Remember that the greatest minds, the richest hearts, have set no loftier aim, no truer method than his of perfect love to God and man. Shall we be told that such a man never lived-the whole story is a lie! Suppose that Plato and Newton never lived. But who did their wonders, and thought their thought? It takes a Newton to forge a Newton. What man could have fabricated a Jesus?”7
Besides paying tribute to all that the Christian message has done for mankind, Parker takes up the question with which we began: could anyone have invented Jesus? And although he regarded Jesus as a mere man, he answered with a resounding, “No!”
Another famous writer who was a complete unbeliever, John Stuart Mill, backs him up:
还有一位著名的作家，John Stuart Mill，他也不是基督徒，他也有同样的观点：
“It is of no use to say that Christ as exhibited in the gospels is not historical, and that we know not how much of what is admirable has been superadded by the tradition of his followers. Who among his disciples or among their proselytes was capable of inventing the sayings ascribed to Jesus, or of imagining the life and character revealed in the gospels? Certainly not the fishermen of Galilee, still less the early Christian writers.”8
His Sublime character耶稣崇高的品德
So far so good. The idea that any lesser men could have “invented” Jesus begins to look unlikely. But the evidence is not yet conclusive. We must go a little further, and study more closely the character of this Jesus.
To save space, we shall only be able to consider the last twenty-four hours of His life. As we do this, it is important that you bear two things in mind:
(1) We shall be dodging about between all four gospels, because this is the only way we can build up a complete picture of Him. So, if Jesus was invented’’, He had not one inventor but four, all skilfully co-operating to produce a realistic result.
(2) Many of the facets of His character that we shall examine are not on the surface of the record. We have to look very carefully, to dig them out from where they lie, half-buried in the text. Does this look like fiction, or fact? Novelists do not usually hide all their best points, so that only a diligent student can find them! 很多耶稣的品德并不能从表面上表现出来。我们必须非常仔细地观察，才能挖掘出隐藏在经文中的内涵。这看起来是虚构的，还是事实？小说家通常不会将他们最精彩的观点刻意地隐藏起来，而圣经的要点只有勤奋的学生才能发现。
We enter the gospel story on the evening before He is crucified. He is in an upstairs room with the twelve apostles, where they are about to have supper. He knows that this will be the last meal of His mortal life, and He intends to make it a memorable one. Two passages summarise one aspect of this meal:
“When Jesus knew that His hour was come . . . having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.”9
“And He said unto them, ‘With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer’ ... And He took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; this do in remembrance of Me.’ Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.’” 10
From these two passages, we can deduce:
(1) That He knew what was coming to Him. He had often said that one day He would be crucified,11 and now the time had arrived.耶稣自己知道即将发生在自己身上的事情。他多次说自己要被钉死在十字架上，现在这个时刻已经来到了。
(2) Nevertheless, He was not thinking of the frightful pain that would soon be racking His own body. His only concern was love for His disciples: “He loved them unto the end.” 尽管如此，他没有考虑即将来到的对于他的身体所带来的折磨和疼痛，他考虑的仅仅是他的门徒。“他既然爱世间属自己的人，就爱他们到底”。（约翰福音13：1）
(3) By comparing similar expressions in the Old Testament, we can see that “with desire I have desired” is a Jewish way of saying, “with a very intense desire”. For their sakes He was terribly keen to hold that ceremonial meal with them.耶稣说：“我很愿意在受害以先和你们吃这逾越节的筵席”，表明他非常愿意和他们一起参加这次纪念晚餐。
(4) He turned that meal into a dramatised parable. He broke bread, and used it to represent the next day’s tearing of His own flesh. He poured wine, and made it a symbol of His blood that would soon be flowing from a multitude of wounds.他用晚餐作比喻。他掰开饼，用它来代表第二天他的就要分开的他的身体。他倒酒，用酒来代表他第二天就要留出的鲜血。
Any other man would have wanted to forget about the torture that was coming to him tomorrow. But Jesus was prepared to bring it vividly to mind. Although it was so painful to Himself, He knew that this simple ceremony would benefit His disciples for centuries to come. And so He performed it with eager desire.
A further group of verses shows up another aspect of that meal:
“He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded... So after He had washed their feet, and had taken His garments, and was set down again, He said unto them, ‘Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord, and ye say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.’ 12
“And as they did eat, He said, ‘Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray Me.’ And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one to say unto Him, ‘Lord, is it I?’”13
One aspect of His character lies right on the surface here. He was an exceedingly humble man. He was willing to do a very tiring and unpleasant job. But why did He do it? Couldn’t they all wash their own feet?
He was not the sort of man to show off. Nor was He doing an unnecessary chore just so that He could give them a lecture about helping one another. There was a very good reason for His action, but it takes a careful student of the gospels to discover it.
We learn the reason from another gospel. Soon after supper the disciples found themselves unable to stay awake.14 Evidently they were all utterly weary with overwork and lack of sleep. So the Master’s work upon their tired feet was a real and necessary act of loving kindness.
But there is yet another lesson lying under the surface. It lies behind that chorus of astonishment, “Is it I?” which rose up when He said, “One of you shall betray Me.”
Obviously they had not the slightest idea who the traitor was. But Jesus knew. John says so, explicitly.15 A few minutes before, Jesus had washed the feet of Judas. And He must have washed the traitor’s feet with the same loving care that He bestowed upon the other eleven. Otherwise someone would have noticed, and said, “Have you seen how the Master is looking at Judas? I wonder what’s wrong.”
But nobody noticed any difference-hence that repeated question, “Is it I?”
What superhuman love, if these records really are true and Jesus really did behave like that!
But what superhuman artistry if Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were four deceivers, weaving together the most elaborately hidden pen portrait in the history of fiction!
Supper is over. Judas Iscariot has gone off alone to earn his blood money. Jesus and the faithful eleven go out into the darkness of the Garden of Gethsemane. In one part of the garden the disciples drop to the earth exhausted, and sleep.
In another part, Jesus begins His last great struggle against His mortal body.
“He kneeled down, and prayed, saying ‘Father if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done.’ And there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”16
This does not read like fiction. No gospel writer would want to invent an incident like that. Inventors of propaganda might have told a tale about Jesus facing death with unruffled calm. But the gospel writers were not inventors of propaganda. They record how the Son of God admitted that one side of Him would have liked to escape crucifixion. They portray Him as fighting a terrific battle to overcome His human desire-a battle so great that He was in agony, while the sweat poured off Him like blood.
How easily this story could have been (yes, and has been) misinterpreted by the immature as something unworthy of the Son of God. But the apostles wrote it just the same. They wrote with the candour of men who have nothing to hide, who are only concerned to record the plain, unvarnished facts.
No sooner has Jesus won His battle than lights appear, coming through the olive trees towards His little band. They hear the clink of steel, and the tramp of many men. Unless something is done quickly there will be twelve arrests instead of one, and eleven extra crosses on Calvary tomorrow.
The next act of Jesus always reminds me of Captain Oates of the Antarctic, who said goodbye to his friends and walked off into the blizzard to die, hoping that through his sacrifice they might survive. “It was the act of a brave man and an English gentleman,” wrote Captain Scott in his diary.
When Scott’s diary was found, he and his fellows were all dead. Yet everybody takes it for granted that Scott was telling the truth. His account bears all the marks of a true record. And similarly John’s gospel reads like sober fact, not glamourised fiction.
“Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon Him, went forth and said unto them, ‘Whom seek ye?’ They answered Him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus saith unto them, ‘I am He.’ And Judas also, which betrayed Him, stood with them. As soon then as He had said unto them, ‘I am He,’ they went backward, and fell to the ground. Then asked He them again, ‘Whom seek ye?’ And they said, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus answered, ‘I have told you that I am He: if therefore ye seek Me, let these go their way.’”17
But what lies behind that strange statement in the middle of the passage, “they went backward and fell to the ground”? The reader inevitably wonders what made a strong force of armed men do that. If John had been writing fiction, would he have left that question unanswered? Surely not. By stating the fact, and leaving us to draw our own conclusions, John shows that he is no embroiderer of fancy tales
As so often happens, another book of the Bible supplies the probable explanation for us. When Christ’s first martyr, Stephen, was in a somewhat similar position, his executioners “saw his face as it had been the face of an angel”.18 If the face of Jesus similarly shone with angelic glory for a moment, it is not surprising that His enemies staggered backwards in terror.
To the Cross在十字架的路上
So the innocent man was led away, to be sentenced on a trumped-up charge with the aid of bribed witnesses. Yet He would not argue in His own defence.19 When He spoke it was for the sake of others.
He even showed a measure of sympathy for Pilate, to whom He said: “Thou couldest have no power at all against Me, except it were given thee from above. Therefore he that delivered Me unto thee hath the greater sin.”20
With the rough heavy cross upon His shoulder, He struggled along the road to Calvary. Even then, His thoughts were upon others rather than Himself.
“And there followed Him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented Him. But Jesus turning unto them said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, “Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the breasts which never gave suck.”’”21
It was to be thirty-odd years before the Roman armies came to destroy Jerusalem. But to Jesus, that dreadful day to come was even more tragic than His own immediate plight.
Even while He hung on the cross, in His final awful pain, He could still help others.
He cried with a loud voice, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”22 Though at first sight this looks like weakness or despair it was nothing of the kind. Those words are actually the first line of Psalm 22, which, as we saw in Chapter 4’ is a wonderfully detailed prophecy of the events on that dreadful day. By reciting this title-line of a well-known Jewish hymn, Jesus was as good as saying, “Look everybody! See how Messianic prophecy is being fulfilled today. See, and believe!”
He prayed for His executioners to be forgiven, because they did not understand the enormity of their offence.23
He arranged for a faithful disciple to take care of His heartbroken mother.24
He comforted the dying thief who had come to believe in Him at the eleventh hour.25
When there was nothing else left for Him to do, He gave a shout of triumph-”It is finished!”26 Then, with quiet dignity, He died:
“He said, ‘Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit.’ And having said thus, He gave up the ghost.”27
We have not been able to look at more than a fraction of the gospel records of the crucifixion. But what we have seen is a picture of a man like no other man, a man that no first-century legend-spinner could possibly have invented. No wonder that the centurion who watched it all said, “Truly, this man was the Son of God!”28
Did the Gospel Writers Exaggerate?福音书的作者夸大事实了吗？
We have disposed of one possibility. The gospels are not pure fiction. But there is that other possibility, that they might be a mixture of fact and fiction. Could the gospel writers have described an “ordinary” good man, and then added all sorts of imaginary sayings and events, just as a modern writer might write a novel about Napoleon or Julius Caesar?
This suggestion also runs against the facts. Here are four solid reasons for believing that the gospels are all fact, not a mixture of fact and fiction.
(1) The gospel writers sound like reliable men. You will need to read all four gospels for yourself to appreciate that this is so. Then you will see that these books were obviously not written by men out to create a sensation. They each tell their tale in a simple, straightforward way. Where it is appropriate they point out how Old Testament prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus. Apart from this, they write like men reporting facts, not like men determined to impress their readers.福音书的书写者看起来像一个可信赖的人。你需要阅读所有4本福音书才会得出这样的结论。你会明白这些书不是为了引起轰动的人写的。每一本福音书都是以一种平白的、简单的诉说方式书写的，在合适的地方会告诉我们旧约的预言是如何在耶稣身上应验的。除此以外，福音书读起来好像在陈述事实，而不是想故意给读者留下深刻的印象。
They are not afraid to mention things that, to a casual reader, may seem unfavourable to their cause. They report some surprising acts and sayings of Jesus which, at first glance, seem to show Him in an unfavourable light. We have to study these passages very closely, often by comparing one gospel with another, before we can see that Jesus did in fact have good reason for everything He said and did. (We have seen several examples of this already in this chapter.)
Again, they are not at all like four dishonest witnesses determined to present a united front. Each tells his story from his own point of view, regardless of what the others have said. Sometimes it even looks as if they contradict each other. Only when you study the records closely can you see that there is real harmony behind the apparent contradictions, as Chapter 19 shows.
All these things are the marks of honest men, telling a true story.
(2) Their stories hang together as a whole. If the gospels are a mixture of fact and fiction, then which bits are the factual bits? Hundreds of unbelievers and half-believers have tried to answer this question to their own satisfaction. 这些故事是一个整体。如果福音书是事实和虚构的混合物，那么那一部分是事实呢？很多不信和半信半疑的人都想找出自己满意的答案。
But no two have ever reached exactly the same conclusion. They have been attempting the impossible. It can’t be done. The gospels do not read like a patchwork album. They read like a consistent, unified record. (If you should think that modern scholars have shown that the gospels are in fact a patchwork album, please reserve your judgment until you have read Part Two of this book.)
Our character study showed that the Jesus of the gospels had a character far above that of any other man. Take away all the passages that indicate a superhuman character for Jesus, and there is very little left. The four gospels are absolutely consistent in their message that Jesus was a uniquely righteous person; consequently, it makes sense to accept that He was.
Once you grant this, everything else in the gospels follows naturally. Despite His quiet humility He had a serene confidence that He was sinless, that He was Messiah, that He was Son of God. All this ties up with His perfect character; it is what we might have expected.
So are the stories of His miracles. The very presence of the Son of God on earth was itself a miracle. Nothing could be more natural than that He should work some miracles for the good of mankind while He was here.
If you have an old, worn-out Bible to spare, try this little experiment. Blot out all the miracles from your four gospels, and see what is left. You will find that the remaining fragments often fail to make sense. This clearly shows that the miracle stories are not something added as an afterthought, but are an integral part of the original record.
(Please don’t shut your mind to these facts because some people argue that it is unscientific to believe in miracles. We shall be looking at miracles from a scientific viewpoint in Chapter 21.)
(3) They did not keep on writing. These four books are the best sellers of all the world’s literature. Yet they are extremely brief. They occupy only twenty or thirty pages each, in the average printed Bible. No other writings by Matthew or Mark are known, and only about another thirty pages by Luke and twenty by John.他们并没有写续集。，四本福音书非常简练，可它们是世界上销售最多的书籍，每一本福音书只有二三十页，马太和马可没有留下其他的书籍，马可还留下另外30页左右的书籍，约翰留下大约20页左右。
If their writing were the product of their own genius, why didn’t they keep on writing? Creative geniuses cannot bear to stop after one short outburst. But since the gospel writers did stop so soon, they were evidently not men of genius eager to express themselves in creative work. Nor could they have been spurred on by the desire for fame.
Some unbelievers suggest that they did keep on writing, but that their other works were not preserved. But this only creates another problem: why did their readers not bother to keep the other works of these brilliant authors? Hundreds of pages of the writings of less gifted Jews and Greeks of that period have survived, but only a handful of pages by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Why?
If we regard these men as mere literary geniuses the problem is insoluble. Bestseller writers have seldom or never been known to burst into full flower with one brief work of superb artistry, and then stop. If only one gospel writer had done so, we might perhaps explain it as a remarkable exception to the general rule. But since two have done it, and the other two have added only a few more pages by way of sequel,29 we need some better explanation.
There is only one explanation that makes psychological sense. They must have been single-minded men with one purpose: to set down a few facts of tremendous importance. They told their tale briefly and accurately-and then stopped.
(4) They do not tell us what Jesus looked like. Fiction writers almost always give us some sort of picture of their great heroes. If Matthew, Mark, Luke and John really were adding fiction to fact, surely one of them would have dropped some hint about the appearance of Jesus. Yet none of them gives us a clue.他们都没有告诉我们耶稣的模样。虚构小说的作者通常总是先给我们描写他心目中英雄的模样，如果马太、马可、路加和约翰是在虚构，他们中间总有一个人会描写耶稣的外貌。然而没有一个人这样做。
We have no idea whether He was short or tall, fat or thin, dark or fair, handsome or ugly. Why not? There is one obvious explanation which fits the facts. God said to an Old Testament prophet:
“The Lord seeth not as man seeth, for man looketh on the Outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”30
The evidence before us suggests that Jesus really was the Son of God. How very fitting that God should guide the pens of the four men who described His Son, to ensure that they gave us a perfect picture of His “heart”, but not the slightest idea of His “outward appearance”.
从这些事实来看，耶稣真的是 神的儿子。 神指导福音书的四位书写者最恰当地描写了他的儿子，让我们最好的了解的他的“内心”，而不是他的外表。
The Evidence of the Empty Tomb
Before you read this chapter, let me give you a friendly warning.
If you are an unbeliever and want to remain one, don’t read this chapter. Or, if you do read it, forget it as quickly as possible. Don’t think about it. Whatever you do, don’t follow it up by studying in detail the evidence that Jesus rose from the dead.
I say this because experience shows that it is a very perilous thing for unbelievers to do. Take two actual case histories, one ancient, one modern.
Two upper-class Englishmen of the eighteenth century were Lord Lyttleton and his friend Gilbert West. They were both trained lawyers. They knew how to weigh evidence and how to argue a case.
As young men they were both unbelievers. It is said that in their early days they had hopes of publishing propaganda against the truth of Christianity. At any rate, it is known that they both set their agnostic minds to work studying the evidence for and against Christ’s resurrection.
The same thing happened to them both. Despite their early antagonism to the Bible, despite their deepest prejudices, the sheer weight of evidence made them change their minds. West and Lyttleton published the results of their separate studies in a joint book.1 They argued that Christ really did rise from the dead, and that Paul was converted in consequence.
If I mention this to Norman, he brushes it on one side with the remark, “Oh yes, but that was all a long time ago.” This is a curious objection. Shakespeare was a long time ago, but his plays are still worth more than all the paperbacks on the station bookstall. The facts that Lyttleton and West faced are just as formidable in the twentieth century as in the eighteenth, as the following story shows.
In 1930 Frank Morrison published a very unusual book.2 In his preface he stated:
“It [his book] is essentially a confession, the inner story of a man who set Out to write one kind of book and found himself compelled by the sheer force of circumstances to write another.”
He explained what he meant in the first chapter, which was entitled, “The Book that Refused to be Written”. When he set out to write a book he did not believe that Jesus performed miracles, nor that He rose from the dead. His book was intended to be called, “Jesus, the Last Phase”. It was to be a study of the last week of Christ’s life. He intended to sift out the “fiction” from the gospel records, and report what was left.
So Morrison sat down to do his homework. He made a very thorough and scholarly study of all the available evidence. At the end of it all he wrote a very different book, which with irresistible logic leads up to a final paragraph:
“There may be, and, as the writer thinks, there certainly is, a deep and profoundly historical basis for that much disputed sentence in the Apostles’ Creed-’The third day He rose again from the dead.’
In other words, Morrison declared, “Having studied the evidence, I now believe what I formerly denied: Jesus really did rise from the dead.”
How Do We Know? 我们怎么知道？
Well, what is the nature of this evidence that convinces so many people? How can anyone possibly know whether Jesus rose from the dead or not?
There are several ways of tackling this question. One way is to begin with the broader question of what constitutes historical evidence.
How do we know any of the facts of history? For example, how do we know that the American War of Independence began in 1775 with the Battle of Bunker Hill, and that although the English won the battle the losses they suffered were disastrous?
Nobody doubts these facts, although all the people who saw the battle have been dead for more than a hundred years. We rely upon the written accounts left behind by a few of those eyewitnesses.
It is like that with the resurrection of Jesus. Four gospel writers give us a written account of it. Two of them were eyewitnesses, the others were intimate friends of eyewitnesses. Two more eyewitnesses, Peter and Paul, add their testimony in their New Testament epistles.
Don’t make the mistake of looking upon the New Testament as “just a lot of books”. It was the product of a group of real, live men. We saw in the previous chapter that it is difficult to read the gospels without concluding that Jesus was a real person, with real disciples, who wrote the truth about Him.
We shall see in Chapter 16 that most of the New Testament was almost undoubtedly written while people who remembered Jesus were still alive. Its authors were certainly not men of the second century writing down legends. They were men of the first century writing about their own experiences.
We must therefore treat the New Testament as the written testimony of a number of witnesses. The only question is: were those witnesses telling the truth or not?
Before attempting to answer that question, we must consider a parallel question from modern history. How do we know that Sir Edmund Hillary and the Sherpa, Tensing, conquered Mount Everest in 1953?
在回答这个问题的时候，我想让大家回答一个现代的问题：我们怎么知道Edmund Hillary，Sherpa和 Tensing在1953年登上了珠穆朗玛峰？
There were no independent witnesses of their achievement, and Hillary and Tensing might be regarded as two very biased men. Yet nobody doubts the truth of their claim to have reached the summit.
Is it possible that Hillary and Tensing were bluffing? Could they have been beaten by the last stretch of ice and rock, and then decided to cover up their disappointment with a false tale of victory and a faked photograph?
Surely not. Mountain climbers have a very strong code of honour, and it goes against all past experience to suppose that two dedicated mountaineers would behave like that.
Well, then, is it possible that they were genuinely mistaken? Could the awesome majesty of their surroundings, or the bottled oxygen they were breathing, have given them hallucinations and made them think that some lesser needle of rock was the summit?
This possibility, too, must be dismissed. These two hardened men of action were not the type to make a hysterical blunder like that.
So the world takes their word for it, and firmly believes that they really did reach the top.
There are equally good grounds for accepting the apostles’ word and believing that Jesus really did rise from the dead.
Were Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter and Paul all deliberately lying?
Of course not. Men only lie when they stand to gain something from it. What did the apostles gain from their testimony to the resurrection? Imprisonment, torture and death! Men do not lie for rewards such as these. And besides, the lofty moral tone of their New Testament writings shows that they were men of high principles.
What, then, of the possibility that they were genuinely mistaken? Could they have been the victims of a great delusion?
This suggestion goes right against the facts. On their own admission the apostles all had a marked prejudice against the idea of Christ’s resurrection. It took time to overcome this prejudice and convince them that Jesus really had risen.
Wishful thinking might have led Mary Magdalene to mistake the gardener for Jesus, if she had been expecting Him to rise from the dead. But the record says that the opposite happened-she mistook the resurrected Jesus for the gardener.3
Wishful thinking might have led the two disciples travelling to Emmaus to mistake a stranger for Jesus, if they had wanted to believe in His resurrection. Instead of that, they mistook the resurrected Jesus for a stranger.4
When He appeared to His sorrowing apostles, even they thought He was a phantom-until they were invited to touch Him, putting their hands into the wound in His side, and their fingers into the holes where the nails had fastened Him to the cross.5
They thought they were imagining His presence-until He joined them in a meal, and they saw food disappearing into His mouth.6 He spent many, many hours with them, enlarging their understanding of the Old Testament Scriptures.7 And finally they all watched Him ascend into heaven.8
No, all the evidence suggests that we must treat these contemporaries of Jesus with the same respect as Hillary and Tensing. We have no reason to suspect them of lying. There are no grounds for thinking of them as poor, deluded simpletons.
There is only one view of them that fits the facts. They were honest, intelligent men, reporting a very wonderful event.
Cause and Effect原因和效果
In Chapter 2 we noted a fundamental law of science, that nothing ever happens without a cause. In Chapter 6 we saw how Christianity came into existence in a most unfavourable environment.
Now these are two facts that simply cannot be denied. Even if you are not yet convinced that Jesus rose from the dead, you cannot reasonably disagree with the statements in the previous paragraph.
Put those two statements together, and immediately a question arises. What was the cause that gave birth to Christianity? Whatever that cause was it must have been something tremendous, judging by the results it achieved.
Remember, as Chapter 6 showed, what an unpopular religion Christianity was, among both Jews and Gentiles. Nevertheless quite a few Jews and Gentiles did accept it. And those few accepted it with such tremendous vigour that they changed the face of the world.
The unbelieving Jews accused the early Christian Jews of having “turned the world upside down”.9 And from a Jewish point of view, they had. The Jewish religion was the oldest, strictest, narrowest, most self-confident religion on earth. It was a religion first given to their fathers by God Himself, and how they prided themselves on that fact!
True, they were not a united body. They had their various sects and schools of thought. But on certain things they were all agreed. These were such vital parts of the Jewish religion, and had been unchanged for so many centuries, that they clung fanatically to them. Their basic dogmas included:
(1) The belief that there was only one God. In a world where every other nation worshipped many gods, this was the great distinguishing mark of the Jewish faith.
他们相信只有一位 神。世界上的其他民族都相信有很多 神，这是犹太教和其它宗教最明显的区别。
(2) A superior attitude to the Gentiles. The God that the Jews believed in had no interest in the Gentiles, unless they were prepared to adopt the Jewish religion and way of life completely.
(3) A fanatical insistence on keeping the Sabbath Day (Saturday) as a day of complete rest from work and a day of worship. 对坚持守安息日（星期六）特别狂热，将那一天看成是崇拜上帝的日子，完全不可以工作。
(4) A determination not to eat those foods (such as pork) that were forbidden by the Law of Moses. 坚决不吃摩西律法所禁止的食物，例如猪肉。
(5) A deep hatred of human sacrifice.
From among this ultra-conservative people sprang the leaders of a new faith. They were not irreligious men. They were men of the very highest moral principles. Yet their teaching cut right across the cherished dogmas of the Jews.
The Christians claimed that they still believed in only one God. But most Jews regarded that claim as absurd. How could these Christians say they had only one God, when their Lord Jesus was supposed to be sitting in heaven at God’s right hand? To the orthodox Jew, such a doctrine was blasphemous nonsense; it reminded them of the deified heroes that the pagans believed in.
基督教声称他们依然信仰只有一位 神，但是大部分犹太人认为这种声明是荒谬的。基督教承认只有一位 神，然而升天以后坐在 神的右边的耶稣如何也曾了 神？对于正统的犹太人来说，这种教条不仅仅是荒谬的，而且也亵渎了 神，他们将这种教条归纳于邪教之列。
Then there was that question of sacrifice. To the devout Jew, sacrifice could mean only one thing. A priest would slay an animal in the temple at Jerusalem, and offer it to God in the way that Moses had prescribed. These Christians had the audacity to say that Jesus Christ, who was executed as a criminal, was really a human sacrifice for sins. “Disgusting!” said the Jews.
To the orthodox Jews the practices of the early Christians were as evil as their beliefs. They admitted Gentiles to full membership of their Church, without first making Jews of them. They dropped the Sabbath, and worshipped God on Sunday instead. They allowed people to eat whatever food they fancied.
But despite all these objections a fair sprinkling of Jews, including quite a number of priests,10 did join the early Church. What happened to cause this? What shook these people out of their deep-seated prejudices, based on a thousand years of national pride and tradition?
To produce such a staggering result, something extraordinary must have happened. What could it have been? The New Testament provides an answer. It says that Peter stood up in Jerusalem and proved that Jesus had risen from the dead; in consequence 3,000 Jerusalemites were baptised.11
The New Testament’s explanation fits the facts beautifully. A tremendous Act of God like the resurrection of Jesus, if clearly established, could well have overcome the prejudices of so many devout Jews. It is hard to imagine what else could have produced such a dramatic result.
One Jew to be converted was called Paul. Nowadays no one seriously doubts that he was a real historical character, who wrote at least some of the New Testament books bearing his name. He was a brilliant man, with a phenomenal understanding of the Old Testament. (Just study his epistles if you have any doubt about that.)
Full of zeal for the orthodox Jewish position, he began life as a persecutor of the Christian Church. Yet he changed abruptly, to become the most effective of all Christian preachers, and ended his days as a martyr for Christ.
What changed him? Let him explain in his own words:
“If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain and your faith is also vain.... But now is Christ risen from the dead.... He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve; after that He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain unto this present . . . After that He was seen of James, then of all the apostles. And last of all, He was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.”12
On two occasions he explained at length how he met the resurrected Jesus on the road to Damascus.13 It was this that changed the course of his life, he said.
Either this was true, and Christ did rise from the dead. Or it was false, and we are left with a fact without an explanation. For how else can we account for Paul’s conversion, or for the epistles that he wrote?
The Tomb was Empty 空坟墓
One thing is quite certain. The tomb in which the body of Jesus was buried was empty three days later. The dead body of Jesus was never seen again. If an unbeliever wants to dispute the resurrection story, he must take that fact as his starting point.
How can we be sure of this? Because it is obvious. The Jewish leaders who crucified Jesus would have loved to be able to say, “Look, this is the tomb, and here is the body-as dead as ever!” Had they done so, Christianity would never have been born.
But they were powerless. The tomb was empty, and so they could not disprove the resurrection story. They could only make the best of a bad job, and try to explain the emptiness of the tomb.
They put their wily heads together, and concocted the very best story they could. Matthew tells us:
“They gave large money unto the soldiers [that is, the soldiers who had been guarding the tomb] saying, ‘Say ye, “His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we slept.”’.. And this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.”14
Matthew’s statement is confirmed by two later writers. Both Justin Martyr15 and Tertullian16 were still meeting the same explanation from unbelieving Jews in the second half of the second century.
The unbelievers’ favourite approach today is not to offer any explanation of the facts. They prefer to dodge the main issue completely, by raising all sorts of side issues: “But how do we know that our gospels are what the apostles wrote? How do we know that changes weren’t made in later years? Don’t the gospel writers contradict each other?”
All such questions are beside the point. They merely evade the main evidence for Christ’s resurrection, which is based upon the unassailable facts of history. And in any case, these questions are dealt with in Part Two of this book.
The “Theft Theory” was the very best that the men on the spot, the unbelieving Jews, could produce. It stands to reason that, after this lapse of time, no modern unbeliever is likely to produce a better theory. And yet such is human nature that various modern unbelievers have tried.
They have only managed to find three alternatives worth serious consideration. First, there is the “Wrong Tomb Theory”. According to this, the disciples looking for the body in the grey light of dawn blundered into some other tomb. It happened to be an empty one. “He is risen!” they cried impetuously-and convinced the world that they were right.
Then there is the “Recovery Theory”. This suggests that the bleeding body of Jesus was not quite dead when they took it down from the cross, buried it, and partially embalmed it. Then the severely wounded Jesus recovered consciousness. He managed to free Himself from the embalming cloths, break the seal on the great stone that closed the mouth of the tomb, roll its vast mass to one side, and creep past the guards unobserved.
But this tall story is not finished yet. It goes on to declare that the half-dead Jesus appeared to His disciples and managed to persuade them that He had been raised to splendid, glorious, all-powerful immortality. Then He managed to disappear for ever from the scene, so that none of them saw Him die.
Believe it or not, this improbable tale has been put forward by unbelievers time after time. Surely they must be in a bad way, if they can be satisfied with a theory like that.
Finally, there is the “Hallucination Theory”. This says that disciples gathered together for a meeting, and in a religious frenzy they all imagined that the risen Lord appeared to them.
Two of these four theories can be dismissed without a second thought. The “Wrong Tomb” and “Hallucination” theories suffer from the fatal objection that the Jews would certainly have produced the dead body of Jesus, and blown Christianity to bits.
The “Recovery Theory” is so obviously far fetched that we are back at our starting point: the Jewish “Theft Theory” is the best of a bad lot. It is the only explanation worthy of further consideration.
Yet it still does not explain half the facts. It presupposes that the apostles were a bunch of brazen cheats. But they were obviously neither brazen nor cheats. They were thoroughly frightened men. On their own admission, when Jesus died they all forsook Him and fled17 and lost faith in His Messiahship.18
And they were good men. Cheats do not write sublime religious literature like the New Testament, nor suffer martyrdom cheerfully for the sake of their faith.
But worst of all, like all the unbelievers’ theories, it does not begin to answer the great question that unbelievers refuse to face:
What caused the sudden uprise of Christianity in an utterly hostile world? What caused a little band of devout, working-class Jews to overcome their deep-rooted religious prejudices; to challenge the religious leaders of their nation; to lay down their lives preaching an incredibly novel and unpopular faith?
It was the most extraordinary, unlikely occurrence in all history. What caused it?
Only one explanation fits the facts.
There is no need for me to tell you what that explanation is.
A Law Ahead of its Time
Imagine one of those programmes where a man in a busy street with a microphone and a television camera stops passers by.
“Excuse me, Sir, (or, Madam). I wonder if you can tell me who first spoke these words: ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself’?”
Leaving out the “Don’t know” and the “Don’t care” brigade, it is a fair bet that most people will answer, “Why, Jesus, of course!”
But they would be wrong. Those words first appear in the book of Leviticus,1 near the beginning of the Old Testament. All Jesus did was to remind people of their importance.
The first five books of the Bible-Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy-contain the code of laws under which the children of Israel lived. Together they are called “The Law of Moses”, or simply “The Law”.
“Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” illustrates how far the Law was ahead of its time. Jesus is regarded as a very advanced moral teacher, and, of course, He was. Yet one of His most famous sayings was a quotation from the Law of Moses.
There is no need to spend much time discussing the Ten Commandments. No other document in the world has had so much influence on the legal and moral codes that civilised man lives by. Other men in the ancient world, like the famous Hammurabi, drew up their own codes of law. Yet none of these has had the lasting effect of the Ten Commandments.
But at the moment I am more concerned with the Law of Moses as
a law of love. Men think of it as a stern, strong law, and it was so. It
had to be, in that far-off lawless age. But in many ways it was also
a tender, merciful law. And considering the age in which it was
written, that is little short of a miracle.
A little over a hundred years ago, a famous cartoon appeared in an English journal. It bore the following caption:
“Who’s ‘im, Bill?”
“‘Eave ‘arf a brick at ‘im.”2
This typifies the attitude of men to strangers all through history. Now contrast what Moses said:
“The stranger that dwelleth with you shall be as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself, for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.”3
Not only your neighbour, but you must also love the foreigner as yourself! Here Moses was not only ahead of his time, but ahead of our time, too. Think how much racial strife would be avoided in the world today, if men would only do as Moses commanded.
The Law was concerned with little things as well as big. Think of all the mental suffering that has been caused by malicious, gossiping tongues. The Law clamped down on this:
“Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people.”4
Among the other ancient nations there was no end to man’s cruelty to his fellow men. Only among the Jews was cruelty kept in check. There was no death by prolonged torture in Israel. The only forms of capital punishment prescribed by the Law of Moses led to a quick death.
The Law also set a limit to the extent of corporal punishment. Other nations would flog criminals indefinitely, until often they died beneath the lash. But Moses said that forty strokes must be the maximum.5 The Law even ruled against cruelty to animals.6
All through history the moneylender has been the curse of primitive societies. Even today, in many underdeveloped countries starving peasants spend their whole lives in debt, while the moneylenders grow rich from disgracefully high rates of interest. Many Jews are among those who have made fortunes from moneylending. But they would not have been if they had appreciated the spirit of their Law.
For the Law set an example to all mankind by frowning on this practice. Israelites were allowed (though not encouraged) to take interest from foreigners. But three different books forbade Israelites to charge one another interest.7 At the same time Moses insisted that, if a poor citizen needed an interest-free loan or a gift, he must be given it.8 Although the lender was allowed to ask for the borrower’s coat as security for a loan, he must not keep it after sundown if the owner needed it for warmth.9
When Israel first became a nation, the religions of their neighbours were indescribably vile. The world was full of idols, in whose name the foulest deeds were done. Human sacrifice, black magic, ritual prostitution, witchcraft-there was no end to the evils perpetrated under the guise of religion.
Now and again some outstanding man-such as King Amenhotep IV, who ruled Egypt during the fourteenth century B.C.-would try to reform his country’s religion. But none of them had any lasting influence on mankind. There was only one nation whose Law shone like a beacon in a dark world:
“I am the Lord thy God.... Thou shalt have none other gods beside Me.”10
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord, and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”11
There was only one God, not a thousand and one. Because of that, a man must be single-minded in his devotion to that One God. The idols of the other nations were as nothing; therefore they must not have the slightest influence upon a man’s thoughts or deeds.
“Thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord.”12
Right up to the time of Christ there was not another nation that had followed Moses’ example, and banned all these hideous religious practices of the ancient world.
Health is Wealth健康就是财富
“What’s he got that I haven’t got?” is a common human complaint. One reason for the Jews’ unpopularity is that men have often had cause to be jealous of them.
Professor Rendle Short, who was a surgeon as well as a Bible student, gives an interesting example from fourteenth-century Italy.13 Plague was sweeping the country, and the Italians noticed that the Jewish communities escaped much more lightly than themselves. They guessed, correctly, that the Jewish Law had something to do with it. So they adopted the Jewish system, and their death rate fell.
As a twentieth-century Italian doctor has written in an ordinary medical textbook:
“No-one can fail to be impressed by the careful hygienic precautions of the Mosaic period. The extremely stringent quarantine rules very likely did a great deal of good.”14
Here are some of the provisions of the Law that helped to keep Israel healthy.
(1) Isolation. “Lepers” (the Biblical term includes a whole group of infectious diseases, along with the modern leprosy) were commanded to live separately from the rest of the people.15 The modern practice of isolating sufferers from infectious diseases was derived directly from the Jews.隔离。“麻疯病”这个词汇在圣经中泛指所有的传染性疾病。这些病的患者被命令从其余的人中间隔离生活。现代人将传染病患者隔离起来，这种做法的根源直接来自犹太人。
(2) Washing after handling dead bodies. When a Jew had handled a dead body he was regarded as “unclean”. He was to be quarantined for seven days, and to undergo an elaborate washing procedure before he was regarded as fit to mix with society again.16 Until about a hundred years ago surgeons used to handle the dead and the dying, and then go straight into the operating theatre without washing. Thousands of their patients died through infection. Many of them might have lived if those early surgeons had kept the Law of Moses.触摸了死人的尸体以后要洗手。犹太人在触摸了死人的尸体以后，他被看成是不洁净的。他要隔离7天以后才能参与社会活动。而其他国家100年以前，外科医生通常没有洗手就进行手术。数千名患者死于感染。如果他们的医生要是遵守摩西律法的话，他们也许还会活着。
(3) Sanitation. In 1969 I walked along the main street of a large African city and watched human excrement drifting along the open drains at the sides of the road. I reflected on the high incidence of disease in that city, and the low expectation of life. And then I wondered how much better off the people would be if only they obeyed the Law of Moses:卫生设施：1969年，我在非洲的一个大城市里行走时，看见了大便沿着街道的排水沟漂流。这让我想起了这个城市为什么会有这么高的疾病发生率，而且居民的寿命却很短。那时我在想，如果他们遵守摩西律法，情况就会好很多。
“You must have a latrine outside the camp and go outside to it; you must carry a spade among your weapons, and when you relieve yourself outside, you must dig a hole with it, to cover up your filth.”17
It was not until the eighteenth century that Western Europe began to see the life-saving wisdom of this part of the Law. And hundreds of millions of people have not seen the wisdom of it yet.
(4) The food laws. Two chapters in the Law18 are filled with lists of the birds, beasts and fishes which may and may not be eaten. With a few exceptions the lists agree with what modern man regards as healthy and unhealthy food. The flesh-eating creatures, the rats, the reptiles and most insects are forbidden; the vegetarian bird and beasts are permitted.有关食物的法律。在法律中有两章（利未记11章和申命记14章）充满了不可以吃的鸟、兽、和鱼类的名单，而这个名单中与现代人认为的判断健康食品和非健康食品的标准是一样的。食肉动物、老鼠、爬虫以及大部分的昆虫是不可以吃的，而食草的动物和鸟是可以吃的。
The main differences from modern practice are that pork and shellfish are forbidden by the Law, yet are eaten today. But there were good reasons for the Law’s strictness. Today public health inspectors backed by an elaborate laboratory service can ensure that pigs and shellfish are reared under healthy conditions. Israel had no such facilities.
We know now that two serious diseases, cysticercosis and trichiniasis, can be caught through eating the flesh of pigs infected by parasitic worms. In a primitive society the only safe way to avoid these diseases is to steer clear of pork.
As for shellfish, they are quite harmless if they grow in water free from sewage. But if human excrement is present they feed on it, and then may harbour the germs of typhoid and other intestinal diseases. Modern science takes precautions against this, but the only precaution open to ancient Israel was to abstain from shellfish.
Even modern food science can sometimes slip up, and let an unsafe batch of shellfish on to the market. The last time (the very last!) that I ate oysters I was carried off on a stretcher at midnight. I had a week in hospital-ample time to reflect that Moses was wiser than I.
Cecil Roth has published some figures showing how the Jews have remained healthier than their neighbours right down to modern times.19 One year when statistics were collected for the death rates among infants less than a year old in Czarist Russia, the rate for Jews was 13.2 per cent and for non-Jews 26.0 per cent. In Vienna it was 8.3 per cent for Jews, 16.1 per cent for non-Jews. In New York in 1915 it was 7.8 per cent for Jews, 10.5 per cent for non-Jews. “Even today [he wrote in 1956] the infant death rate in Israel is the lowest in the world.”
Cecil Roth先生曾经发表过一些数据，证明即使在现代社会，犹太人的健康状况依然比他们的邻居好。统计学家收集俄罗斯帝国时期一岁以下婴儿死亡率数据，犹太人的比率为13.2%, 非犹太人为26.0%。在维也纳，犹太人为8.3%，而非犹太人为10.5%。“即使是在今天（作者的写作时间为1956年），犹太人的婴儿死亡率依然是世界上最低的。”
Conservation of Resources对资源的保护
In 1966 a new body was formed in London by a group of eminent British citizens. It is called “The Conservation Society”, and its objects were defined as including:
“(iii) To promote the conservation in the interests of mankind of natural resources and animal life .第3条：促进保护人类自然资源和动物生命
(iv) To promote the conservation of human cultures, skills and knowledge ...”20
It has taken the world all this time to realise that the world’s resources are limited and need to be carefully conserved. Meanwhile, human foolishness and greed has done untold harm to the beautiful world in which we live.
Much of this harm could have been prevented if more people had obeyed the Law of Moses. For this Law taught the necessity of conservation of resources several thousand years before man seriously thought about it. Here are three examples:
(1) Bird life. If an Israelite caught a mother bird sitting on a nest, he must not take both the mother and her eggs or young. He could take the eggs or young birds, but had to let the mother go free to perpetuate the species.21
If only modern man had listened to Moses, the museums of the world would not now be full of stuffed examples of extinct birds. We should not have a saying, “Dead as the dodo”. The beautiful passenger pigeon of North America, and the great auk of the North Atlantic, would still be thriving in their millions as they were at the beginning of the last century.
(2) Arable land. Every seventh year the Israelite had to let his arable land lie fallow (that is, uncultivated).22 Under modern farming methods this is not necessary. But with more primitive methods of agriculture, constant cropping was liable to destroy the fertility of the land.
The Law of Moses provided an effective method of preventing human greed from ruining the good earth. But mankind disregarded the Law. All over the world man-made deserts sprawl where once were fertile fields. The deserts of Iraq, the coastal belt of North Africa, the dust bowls of the United States-all these might still be rich farmland if the Law had been obeyed.
(3) Fruit trees. In present day warfare anything goes-or almost anything. There are, it is true, a few “rules of war”, dating back to the first Geneva Convention in 1864. But they are limited in scope, and not all countries recognise them. Even those that say they accept them sometimes break the rules when the crunch comes.对果树的保护：在今天的世界上，战争会让一切消失，或几乎让一切消失。1864年的日内瓦公约制定了一些战争规则，但是它们的范围有限，并不是所有的国家都承认它。即使是接受公约的国家，有时也会违背。
In the Vietnam war America introduced a new military tactic. It is called “defoliation”. The U.S. air force has sprayed many thousands of tons of weedkiller over enemy-occupied territory. Vast areas of jungle where enemy troops once hid have been turned into a temporary desert. Rice crops and fruit trees have also been wiped out, and great numbers of Vietnamese have gone hungry in consequence. Such is “total war”, as it is practised today.
But ancient Israel were forbidden to treat nature so ruthlessly. Even under the stress of war they were not allowed to chop down fruit trees to make defensive barriers. Though this might have reduced their own casualties, or even turned defeat into victory, they still must not do it. Moses told them why not: “for the tree of the field is man’s life.”23
Thus the Jewish Law of three thousand years ago was in this respect far wiser, far more civilised, than American law (or British law, for that matter) of today.
(4) Human strength. This was the most precious of all natural resources, in a world where machine power had not yet come to replace muscle power. The Law of Moses introduced a revolutionary new principle to conserve human strength-a compulsory day of rest, once a week.24
Those far-off days were not noted for any humanitarian tendencies. Yet the astonishing fact about the Sabbath law was this: it applied to everybody in the land, Israelite and foreigner, master and slave alike.25
Such an act of generosity on the part of rulers towards their slaves is without parallel in history. Yet Israel’s Law commanded it, and, by and large, Israel obeyed.
The great medical historian, Karl Sudhoff, has said:
“Had Judaism given nothing more to mankind than the establishment of a weekly day of rest, we should still be forced to proclaim her one of the greatest benefactors of humanity.”26
Jews have always been known for the happiness and stability of their home lives,
In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, when wife-beating was expressly permitted by English law, the Jewish rabbis could say, “It is not the way of our people to beat their wives as the Gentiles do.”27
In 1952 Jewish marriages involving divorced persons numbered 122 out of a total of 1,876, or 6.5 per cent. This was about half the comparable figure for the British people as a whole.28 Most Jewish wives regard homemaking as a full time job. In 1950-52 only 11 per cent of Jewish women went out to work, compared with 34 per cent of the overall population.29
The secret of successful Jewish home life, like so many other things Jewish, lay in the Law. In the ancient world (as in primitive societies today) wives were often regarded as mere chattels, to be used, discarded and replaced at will. Children were nothing more than economic assets to the Gentile nations.
But Israel’s Law was different. Jewish women had to be respected. Adultery, fornication and prostitution were very severely discouraged. Men had to treat their wives fairly, even if they disliked them.30 Although divorce was not forbidden it was not encouraged, but was carefully regulated.31 And the ideal Jewish marriage was clearly specified in the beginning: one man and one woman, joined together for life.32
The Law laid great stress upon the careful upbringing of children. It was a father’s responsibility to see that his children were well educated in God’s ways.33
The Jewish religion would never have survived without this stress on religious education within every family. At the same time it has had a useful by-product for the Jews. They have always been more advanced than any other nation in every form of education. Without doubt, their success in the world is partly due to this.
Thus, for example, a census taken in 1861 revealed that more than half the adult population of Italy could not read or write, but that only one Italian Jew in 17 could not read or write.34 A census of university students in Britain in 1954-5 revealed that 2.8 per cent of students were Jews,35 although Jews form only 0.8 per cent of the country’s population.
How Did Moses Manage It?
Once more we have a remarkable fact to face. The Law of Moses (contained in the first five books of the Bible) was astonishingly advanced in its provisions. It was at least three thousand years ahead of its time. The rest of the world did not realise the wisdom of many parts of the Law until the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
How are we going to account for this? How did Moses manage to give his people such a revolutionary and brilliantly successful law?
Here is Moses’ own explanation:下面是摩西自己的解释：
“What great nation is there that hath a god so nigh unto them as the Lord our God is?...
What great nation is there that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this Law?...
The Lord spake unto you . . . The Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments.”36
Moses took no credit for himself. He was not the greatest legalistic genius of all time. He was not a man 3,000 years ahead of his time. It was not his brain that anticipated so many discoveries of modern sociology, hygiene, medicine and economics. His Law, he says, came from God.
This explanation by Moses fits the facts. Is there an alternative explanation that fits them half as well? How do the unbelievers explain the stubborn facts?
The answer is that they don’t. They cannot provide a rational explanation for the facts, so they fall back once more on the technique of side-stepping them.
“Moses didn’t write the Law,” they cry. “It was compiled by other men, between five and ten centuries after the time of Moses.”
As if that made any difference! If true, it would only make the Law two thousand-odd years ahead of its time, instead of three thousand. And in any case, as we shall see later, it is by no means proved that Moses did not write the Law.如果是这样，这部法律领先时代2000年，而不是3000年，那又有什么区别？不管如何，正如我们在本书后面所看到的，没有证据显示摩西并没有写这部律法。
So they try another tactic. “Pah, this is just a load of pro-Jewish propaganda!”
Again: so what? Facts are still facts, even if somebody throws dirty words like “propaganda” at them. And in any case, it is not true. My feelings are certainly pro-Bible, but they are not pro-Jewish. I have no particular liking, nor any dislike, for the Jews. I am just a neutral observer of what anyone can see to be an extraordinary people, with an extraordinary Law.
Ask yourself: how do you explain these facts? You know how Moses explained them. He said that he received his astonishing Law from God Almighty.
If this is not true, how did he manage to produce such a Law?
The Ring of Truth
I shall never forget the day my father showed me my first counterfeit coin.
“Look at this, son,” he said. “I’ve been done!”
He held it lightly between the fingers and thumbs of both hands, and bent it easily into a horseshoe shape. I gasped with surprise and watched, fascinated, as he bent it back to its original shape. He passed it to me and I examined it. It still looked like a genuine half crown.
“How did you know it was a dud, Dad?” I asked.
“Because of this,” he replied, taking it from me and dropping it on the shop counter.
“Hear that dull clonking noise? Now listen to the ringing note you get from a real one.” He dropped a genuine half crown beside the counterfeit. There was no mistaking the different sound.
Even my schoolboy ear could detect the ring of truth.
In every walk of life people learn to sense the difference between true and false.
Old hands in the teaching profession can glance down an examination room, and pick Out the one boy who is trying to crib. The customs officer gradually learns to spot which suitcases are worth opening. The experienced magistrate can nearly always tell when a witness is lying. In every walk of life things either ring true, or they ring false.
But before you can detect the ring of truth with any certainty you need experience. It is therefore significant that those who know the Bible best trust it the most.
A Bible lover once told an anecdote about a pompous colonel at a dinner table.
“In my opinion,” he declared, “the Koran is vastly superior to the Bible.”
“Excuse me, Colonel,” said a clergyman. “Do you mind if I ask you two questions? Have you ever read the Bible from beginning to end?”
The colonel admitted that he had not, and waited uneasily for the second question.
“Have you ever even seen a copy of the Koran?”
When the colonel again answered that he hadn’t, the clergyman asked him what he thought of himself. “You publicly declare that a book you have never seen is vastly superior to a book that you have never read right through!”
That story rings true. I have met dozens and dozens of people like the colonel, who condemn the Bible vigorously but have never read it. On the other hand I know people whose whole attitude to the Bible changed entirely when once they started to read it. As they read it, they could see that here was a book that rang true.
As an example, take the fourth book of Moses, called the book of Numbers. You will see that it consists of three main elements:
(1) Lists of names, places and statistics about the nation of Israel. (Hence the name, “Numbers”.)列出以色列人的支派、姓名、地点、人口统计数字，（因此这本书的名字叫民数记）。
(2) Detailed laws and regulations (mainly of a religious character).详细的法律规范和规章，主要是宗教方面的。
(3) Stories of things that happened to Israel, and things they did, during their forty years in the wilderness.以色列人在旷野40年中所经历的故事。
Now does this book ring true, or not? Many people who have studied it are convinced that it does. Those lists of names may make very dull reading today, but their very existence, scattered throughout the book, has the ring of truth about it.
If those lists were written by Moses, we can see the reason for them. They were very important to the people named in them. But it is very hard to imagine why a forger, writing hundreds of years later, should bother to compile such lists.
The historical parts of the book also ring true. Nearly all the stories show up Israel in an unfavourable light. Some of them throw an unfavourable light upon Moses himself. But they all portray human nature just as we know it to be: generally weak, obstinate, prejudiced, ungrateful, hasty, faithless-but now and again rising above itself, and reaching heights of glory.
In the years between the two world wars the greatest living Englishman spent a quiet life at Chartwell. Churchill was biding his time, waiting until his country needed him again.
In those days he had plenty of time to think, and his great mind did not shrink from reaching unpopular conclusions. He, almost alone, told the world the truth about the Nazi menace，
And Churchill also told the world that the books of Moses rang true.
He wrote in his essay on Moses:
“We must, at this point, examine briefly the whole question of the miracles . . . We [meaning himself] reject, however, with scorn all those learned and laboured myths that Moses was but a legendary figure upon whom the priesthood and the people hung their essential social, moral and religious ordinances. We believe that the most scientific view, the most up-to-date and rationalistic conception, will find its fullest satisfaction in taking the Bible story literally .. . We remain unmoved by the tomes of Professor Grad-grind and Dr Dryasdust. We may be sure that all these things happened just as they are set out in Holy Writ. We may believe that they happened to people not so ‘very different from ourselves, and that the impressions those people received were faithfully recorded and have been transmitted across the centuries with far more accuracy than many of the telegraphed accounts we read of the goings-on of today. In the words of a forgotten work of Mr Gladstone, we rest with assurance upon ‘The impregnable rock of Holy Scripture’.”1 (The italics are mine.)
Why did Churchill reach such an unorthodox conclusion? First, because he read his Bible thoroughly and carefully. And secondly, because he was never a man to be swayed by the weight of public opinion; he was prepared to think things out for himself.
Ding and Dong叮咚声
It is easier to detect the clear “ding” of the true coin when you can compare it with the dull “dong” of the false.
You can apply this test to the gospels. In addition to the four gospels of our Bible, there are a number of so-called gospels. They were written in the second, third and fourth centuries.
Here is a typical passage from the “Gospel of Nicodemus”, describing the entry of Jesus into Pilate’s judgment hall:
下面的节选来自所谓的“尼哥底母福音书”（Gospel of Nicodemus），描写了耶稣在受彼拉多审判的情景：
And Jesus going in, and the standard-bearers holding their standards, the tops of the standards were bent down and adored Jesus. And the Jews seeing the bearing of the standards, how they bent down and adored Jesus, cried Out vehemently against the standard bearers . . . [It goes on for a whole page, with the Jews arguing about whether the standards really bent down miraculously. Then Pilate agrees to try and repeat the miracle.) . . . And the procurator ordered Jesus to come in the second time. And the runner did in the same manner as before, and made many entreaties to Jesus to walk on his cloak. And He walked on it, and went in. And as He went in, the standards were again bent down and adored Jesus.”2
Now compare this with the simple dignity of the Biblical accounts:
“And when they had bound Him they led Him away, and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor.” (Matthew)
“And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus and carried Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate.” (Mark)
“And the whole company of them rose up and brought Him before Pilate.” (Luke)
“Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment. (John)
Another example. There are many ancient accounts of the creation of the world in the sacred books of mankind. Here are two typical specimens:
(1) Berosus, a Babylonian priest, said that the god Belus came out and cut the woman Omoraka asunder, and of one half of her he formed the earth and of the other half of her the heavens. Later, Belus commanded one of the gods to take off his head and to mix the blood with the earth, and with this mixture to make men and animals
(2) Manu, the reputed writer of the Hindus’ most sacred books, said that Brahma was hatched out of a golden egg. He lived in it for a time, and then made heaven Out of one part of the egg and earth out of the other.
Against these, the Bible gives us another alternative:
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was waste and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light.’ And there was light.”3
There is obviously a tremendous gulf between the other books and the Bible. All other ancient creation stories sound like the product of a ‘vivid imagination running riot. The Biblical record still makes sense in this scientific age. It reads like a sober statement of some momentous facts.
Truth is Often Painful真理通常是痛苦的
When the translators of the Bible into English produced their “Authorised Version” in 1611, they dedicated it to King James I. Their “epistle of dedication” is still printed in some editions of this version. It begins like this:
“Great and manifold were the blessings, most dread Sovereign, which Almighty God, the Father of all mercies, bestowed upon us the people of England, when first He sent your Majesty’s Royal Person to rule and reign over us...
Talk about flattery! And it goes on and on in the same ‘vein for two whole pages. Obviously the translators knew which side their bread was buttered on.
Doubtless King James had his good points. He must also have had some faults. But you will find no hint of them in this very human document. It portrays King James as perfection itself.
How differently the Bible speaks of its greatest heroes. It gives a balanced picture of them all. It tells us what to admire in them, and why God blessed them. With equal frankness it informs us where each one fell down.
So we know that Abraham, the father of the Jewish race, betrayed his wife to save his own skin. That Jacob, whose other name Israel was given to the nation, cheated his twin brother. That David, Israel’s greatest king, was once so consumed with passion that he followed adultery with murder.
Is there another ancient history book that makes no attempt to whitewash its heroes? That has the ring of honest truth about it whenever it talks about the nation’s leaders? If there is, I have never known an atheist who could produce it.
有其它古代历史书这样平白地描写过他们的英雄吗？有其它如此诚实地描写自己国家领导人的书吗？ 如果有的话，我不知道有哪一位不信仰 神的人可以做到这一点。
You may have seen a copy of Adolf Hitler’s book, Mein Kampf. This is an example of flattery in the reverse direction-an ambitious politician flattering his people. Hitler told the Germans that they were a superior race and they loved him for it. History might have been very different if he had told them they were a bad lot.
But the Jewish national book told the Jews the plain, painful truth. They were the most privileged nation on earth. And yet their Bible told them in nearly every book that they were utterly unworthy of their privileges.
Here are just a few examples:
(1) God delivered them from a life of cruel slavery in Egypt. But they kept wanting to go back.
(2) God fed them miraculously with “bread from heaven” in the desert. Yet they kept grumbling that it didn’t taste very good. 神在旷野中奇迹般地赐给他们“从天上降下来的粮”——玛拉，他们却一直埋怨味道不好。
(3) God promised to bring them safely into the Promised Land. He said that He would use His power to drive out their enemies. But they were afraid to go in. 神应许要带领以色列人安全地进入应许之地，并且说他将用自己的力量赶走敌人，但是他们却不敢进去。
(4) Once in the Land of Promise they promptly started worshipping idols.他们进入 神赐给他们的土地以后，马上开始偶像崇拜。
(5) For the next thousand years their history was one long story of idolatry. interrupted by spells of comparative godliness when occasional good leaders were at the helm. 在接下来的1000年历史中这个民族充满了偶像崇拜，只有在少数几个虔诚的国王掌权的时候没有崇拜偶像。
(6) Then God punished them with a spell of captivity in Babylon. When He gave them the opportunity to return home, many of them preferred to stay in idolatrous Babylon. 接下来 神惩罚了他们，让巴比伦人将他们俘虏，离开自己的土地。然而当 神给他们机会回到故土时，他们却宁愿留在巴比伦这个崇拜偶像的国家。
(7) Those who did go home behaved badly, right until the end of the Old Testament period. The very last book of the Old Testament, on its last page, says, “Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them.”4
There is the ring of truth about a book like this. No flattery, no suppression of unpleasant facts, but history as it ought to be told-clearly and objectively.
A hundred years ago s summed up his reasons for believing in the Bible like this:
“The Bible is not such a book as man would have made if he could-or could have made if he would.”
In Chapters 2 to 8 we saw the truth of the first half of this statement. Man (unaided by God) simply could not have produced a book like the Bible.
Now we have seen the truth of the other half of Rogers’ statement. Man (left to himself) would not have produced a book as full of painful truth as the Bible.
A Perfect Match完美的匹配
Few people today seem to have heard of Professor J. J. Blunt, who was once the Margaret Professor of Divinity at Cambridge. Yet he was one of England’s most diligent Bible students.
In 1847 he published a book5 reporting the results of many years of research. He specialised in comparing one part of the Bible with another, and finding what he called “undesigned coincidences” between two (or more) books. This is the sort of thing that he discovered.
He brought together the three following passages, from the books of Numbers, Joshua and 1 Samuel respectively:
“There we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants. And we were in our own sight as grasshoppers.”6
“And Joshua came at that time and cut off the Anakim .
Joshua utterly destroyed them with their cities. There was none of the Anakim left in the land of the children of Israel; only in Gaza, in Gath and in Ashdod did some remain.7
“There went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span (about 9 feet).”8
Now, says Blunt in effect, see what these three passages tell us. They were written by three different authors at three different periods of history. Yet they match each other just like a cup, saucer and plate from the same teaset.
The first passage reveals that before Israel entered the Promised Land there were many giants there. These giants were called “sons of Anak”, or “Anakim” (which is merely the plural form of the Hebrew name “Anak”).
The second passage says that when Israel conquered the Promised Land, they destroyed nearly all this race descended from Anak. But they did leave a few of these giants in three towns: Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod.
The third passage casually mentions that the giant Goliath’s home town was Gath. Is it likely that the writer of this third passage was a fiction writer who scoured the earlier books of the Bible, until he found the “right” town to put his giant in? Or was it just a fluke that he happened to pick one of the only three appropriate towns in all Israel?
No, there is the ring of truth about this set of passages. They sound much more like accurate history than cunningly contrived fiction.
Ahithophel’s Treachery Explained亚希多弗为什么会叛变？
In another chapter Blunt brings together a whole string of apparently unrelated chapters from one book, with remarkable results. The Bible passages involved are too numerous to quote here in full. I shall just give the substance of them and quote the references.
But first, a little background information. There were two great tragedies in the later part of King David’s life. The first was his terrible moral lapse, when he committed adultery with Bathsheba and then murdered her husband, Uriah the Hittite. The second occurred when his own son Absalom rebelled against him and temporarily seized his throne.
The Bible tells us that the second incident was God’s punishment on David for the first. But it does not tell us that there was also a purely human connection between the two incidents. The Bible left that for some future student to dig out for himself.
This is what Blunt discovered.下面就是布朗自己的发现：
When Absalom decided to stage a rebellion, he sent for a man called Ahithophel the Gilonite to join him.9 Now this was a very surprising action. Ahithophel was David’s own right hand man, “mine own familiar friend in whom I trusted”, as David called him.10
It was a remarkable act of treachery on Ahithophel’s part. It was so unexpected to David that he never could get over it.11 Yet Absalom clearly expected Ahithophel to change sides readily. Why?
Blunt found a clue to the answer in one of those long lists of names that many Bible readers skip over. In the list of the 37 officers of David’s guard occur two ‘vital names: Uriah the Hittite (the man David murdered), and “Eli am the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite”12
-that is, the son of the traitor.也就是说，以连是背叛者亚希多弗的儿子。
So the son of the future traitor and the murdered man had been close colleagues, and probably friends. But this is not all. From an entirely different part of the book we learn that Bathsheba, the wife of the murdered man, was “the daughter of Eliam”.13 Uriah had evidently married the daughter of his fellow-officer. (It was common in those days for older men of the upper class to marry very young women.)
With these facts before us it is easy to see why Absalom anticipated Ahithophel’s treachery, while David was astonished by it. The girl that the elderly David had seduced was Ahithophel’s granddaughter. The man David had murdered was Ahithophel’s grandson by marriage.
Blinded by his own passion, David could not see what effect this had upon Ahithophel. But Absalom was well aware that Ahithophel was seething with anger, and ready for revenge.
A later chapter confirms that revenge was one of Ahithophel’s motives. When they first captured David’s palace, Absalom asked Ahithophel what to do next. “Go in unto thy father’s concubines (wives)”14 was the reply. As much as to say: “Pay him back in his own coin. He stole another man’s wife; now you steal his!” The record continues:
“So they spread Absalom a tent upon the top of the house, and Absalom went in unto his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.”15
Thus the wheel had turned full circle. It was upon his housetop that David was walking when he caught his first glimpse of Bathsheba washing herself and lusted for her.16 Now, in the selfsame place, her wily old grandfather arranges David’s public humiliation.
It goes without saying that this fascinating story-hidden-within-a-story could not have been deliberately contrived. No forger would hide his forgery so carefully that it remained undiscovered for nearly 3,000 years, as this did. Either these passages represent a whole series of lucky coincidences or-much more probably-they are an integral part of real history, told with meticulous accuracy.
There are something like a hundred of these undesigned coincidences in Blunt’s book. Nearly every one of them has the ring of truth about it.
A somewhat similar book by Paley and Birks, restricted to New Testament history, lists many more.17 Bible students are constantly discovering still more of them for themselves.
Try discovering large numbers of undesigned coincidences in any work of fiction you like to choose. You will not succeed. They are the hallmark of true history, not fiction.
Harmony Doesn’t Just Happen
Some years ago, at the time when I was still trying to convince Norman of the truth of the Bible, we went together to a symphony concert. Afterwards I kicked myself for missing an opportunity. On the way home I ought to have started up a conversation like this
“Tell me, Norman, have you ever wondered what would happen if the conductor should be taken ill in the middle of a symphony?”
“I suppose they’d appoint another conductor from among the instrumentalists. If not, they’d just have to give up playing. They certainly couldn’t carry on without a conductor.”
“Quite so. Now suppose that you were to go blind, and someone took you to a concert. The orchestra are performing magnificently. Suddenly the man in the next seat tells you that they are playing without a conductor. Would you believe him?”
“Of course not. Even if I couldn’t see the conductor I should know that he must be there from the way the orchestra was playing. Harmony doesn’t just happen, you know. There must be a conductor to create it.”
And then I could have gone on to apply that principle to the Bible itself. Here we have a collection of sixty-six books, by about forty different authors, written over a period of at least a thousand years. (Much longer than a thousand years, if you accept what the Bible says about its own authors.)
Yet the harmony running through all these books is outstanding. They all teach the same great doctrines about life and death, sin and salvation. From Genesis to Revelation there is one steadily unfolding, consistent story: God has a plan for the earth and the human race, and is slowly but surely seeing it through to completion.
Harmony doesn’t just happen. If the “orchestra” is playing well, we can infer the existence of a “Conductor”. We may be too blind to see the Hand that guided the forty Biblical authors, but their harmony is evidence that He exists.
Was It Done Deliberately?是故意安排的吗？
The unbeliever has a ready excuse. He cannot deny that a certain amount of harmony is there, and so he suggests that the Bible writers themselves deliberately created it. Each writer knew what the general teaching of the previous writers was, so he framed his own book to fall in line, says the unbeliever.
At the same time the unbeliever adopts his favourite method of defence. He sidesteps smartly. “And anyway,” he retorts, “there’s an awful lot of disharmony in the Bible, too!”
If you press him to specify the “awful lot of disharmony” he generally becomes uncomfortable. Before long he has to admit that he has greatly overstated his case. There is not “an awful lot of disharmony”. In the end, if he tries very hard, he may manage to produce one or two examples of what he calls “contradictions”.
I shall deal more fully with this accusation that the Bible contradicts itself in Chapter 19. Meanwhile, here is just one very important point.
The so-called contradictions all lie on the surface.
The harmonies are fundamental, deep-rooted.
And this is just what you would expect to find in a collection of books that are true.
Ask any lawyer how he reacts if he hears two witnesses telling exactly the same story. He suspects collaboration between them. Their evidence is too good to be true. He cross-examines them closely. And when he probes deeply he soon discovers whether they are lying or not.
But with truthful witnesses it is quite different. They may easily appear to disagree. If the crime took place at a street corner, one witness may say it happened in X Street, and the other in Y Street. In this case, cross-examination will soon establish that both were telling the truth. The more deeply the lawyer probes, the more he will uncover the harmony lying behind the two witnesses’ accounts.
Now to return to the unbeliever’s first line of defence. He argues that the harmony between the various books of the Bible is there because the writers deliberately produced it
Does this sound reasonable? Is it likely that all those authors-soldiers, kings, prophets, fishermen, a tax collector, a lawyer, a doctor, men from the dawn of civilisation and men from the sophisticated world of Rome-would all agree to tell the same tale? Is human nature like that?
Try this experiment. Make a collection of prominent documents from Christian churches and sects today. Get a Roman Catholic missal, a Church of England Prayer Book, the Book of Mormon) the Christian Scientists’ textbook Science and Health, and a copy of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Watchtower.
Put them all together, and look at them. What do you find? Complete, utter, indescribable chaos!
Left to themselves religious writers always disagree, even when they supposedly share the same faith. If there really is harmony between 11 the writers of the Bible, it is absurd to argue that they themselves deliberately produced it.
At this point you would probably like me to prove that the harmony have been talking about really exists. But this is not altogether within my power. I cannot prove to a young “pop” fan that Beethoven’s music is enjoyable. I can only urge him to persevere with listening to it, until he is able to enjoy it for himself.
So it is with the Bible. If you want to know whether it is full of harmony or not, there is really only one way. You must read the Bible, right through, and then read it again.
Here are some of the major themes of the Bible that you will find. They all run through the Bible from beginning to end:
(1) The rottenness and hopelessness of human nature left to itself. 人类有犯罪的天性。
(2) How human sin can be forgiven, and human nature changed. 人类所犯的罪是如何才能够得到赦免。人的本性如何才能得到改变。
(3) God’s offer of eternal life, and the terms on which He offers it. 神赐给人类永生的盼望，要得到永生的条件。
(4) God’s promise and plan to fill this earth with His glory. 神的应许和计划：让全地充满他的荣耀。
(5) The Son of God as the centre of all God’s work’. 神的儿子耶稣是 神的整个工作的中心。
These themes are so great that you can only follow them through he Bible for yourself. Nevertheless, the rest of this chapter will be devoted to a few of the lesser themes of the Bible. They illustrate its harmony on a small scale, small enough for you to grasp at a first look.
The Failure of the Firstborns 长子的失败
in the early years of this century there lived in South Wales a working man known far and wide as “Brother Joe”. His friends used to say that he knew the Bible better than anyone else in the world. Whether that was true or not, he certainly had a remarkable grasp of the Bible. You could name almost any chapter, and he would instantly tell you what it was about, what lessons could be learnt from it, and how it linked up with other parts of the Bible. All this despite a complete lack of education, and despite being tied to long hours of heavy manual labour in a steelworks.
Because of his intense love of the Bible, and the way he spent every spare minute reading it and thinking about it, he made many interesting discoveries. One of the most fascinating was what he called, “The story of the failure of the firstborns.”
To the Jews, the firstborn son of a family was very important. He had special privileges over his brothers. Under the Jewish laws of inheritance, he was entitled to a double portion.
When God wanted to stress the high calling of His chosen nation, He said, “Israel is My son, My firstborn.”1
Yet despite all this stress on the importance of being a firstborn, not one of the successful men of the Old Testament is said to be a firstborn. Every firstborn of the Old Testament who might have had a position of honour was in some way a failure. Every single one disappointed God, and was passed over by God in favour of a younger brother.
神在强调以色列人是 神的选民的时候，他说“以色列是我的儿子，我的长子”（出埃及记4：22）。尽管强调头生子的重要性，然而旧约从来没有说那一位成功者是长子。尽管长子应该得到尊荣，旧约中每一位长子都有不同程度上的失败；每一位长子都曾令 神感到失望，神将长子的地位给了他的弟弟。
The first man, Adam, had a firstborn son called Cain. He was a murderer. God rejected him, and the “chosen line” (that is, the line of descent of the Messiah) passed to a younger son, Seth.
Noah had three sons. They are always listed in this order: Shem, Ham and Japheth. To a casual reader it looks as if Shem must have been the eldest.2
But if we compare a series of verses giving the ages of Noah at various times in his life, and then do a little arithmetic, we soon see that this was not so. Noah’s first son was born when he was 500 years old,3 whereas Shem was born when Noah was 503.4 Ham is specifically said to be a younger son.5
Hence we know that Japheth must have been Noah’s firstborn. But for some reason God passed him over, and the chosen line passed to Shem, a younger brother.
There is a similar story with Abraham and his brothers. They are listed in this order: Abram, Nahor and Haran.6 But Abram (better known as Abraham) was not the firstborn. He is listed first because he is the chosen one of the family.
The Bible does not state directly that Abram was not the firstborn. This fact only emerges when we compare three different verses, and again do a few sums.7
Abraham’s firstborn son was Ishmael, “a wild man”,8 who was passed over in favour of Isaac. Isaac’s firstborn was Esau. He was a “profane person”,9 and the chosen line passed to his younger brother, Jacob.
亚伯拉罕的长子叫以实玛利，他的为人“像野驴”， 神没有挑选他，而是选择了以撒。以撒的长子叫以扫，他是一个“贪恋世俗” 的人。 神选择了他的弟弟雅各这一系。
Jacob’s firstborn was Reuben, but he sinned grievously.10 So the honour of delivering the family in its hour of need went to one younger brother, Joseph, and the chosen line passed to another younger brother, Judah.
Joseph’s firstborn was passed over in favour of a younger brother, despite Joseph’s protests.11 Judah’s firstborn was so wicked that he was slain by God,12 and the chosen line was continued through a much younger brother.
约瑟长子的地位给了小儿子，尽管约瑟表示不满。犹大的长子在 神的眼中是邪恶的， 神使他死了。 神又一次选择了小儿子。
When the two brothers Moses and Aaron are mentioned together it is usually in that order. Moses comes first, because he was the more important and the stronger character. (Aaron once slipped into idolatry.) But Aaron was 3 years older than Moses,13 and presumably (since no other brothers are mentioned) the firstborn of the family.
Many years later, God sent the prophet Samuel to a man called Jesse. God said: “I have provided me a king among his sons.”14 Samuel was very favourably impressed with the elder sons. But God made him pass them over, and appoint the youngest son, David, as king.
多年以后， 神差遣先知撒母耳到耶西家中去。 神说：“我在他众子之内，预定一个作王的”。（撒母耳记上16：1）撒母耳对于耶西的几个大儿子印象深刻，但还是 神却让他跳过了他们，选择了最小的儿子。
The first six sons of David are listed like this:
“His firstborn was Amnon... second Chileab... third Absalom ... fourth Adonijah... fifth Shephatiah . ..sixth Ithream.”15
Amnon the firstborn seduced his own sister and then cast her aside. This so angered his brother Absalom that he murdered him. Chileab, Shephatiah and Ithream are never mentioned again; presumably they died in infancy.
This left Absalom as the heir apparent; he tried to take the throne by force and was killed. Adonijah was next in line. He also tried to take the throne by force, and was killed.
Why did these two princes give their lives trying to grab what appeared to be theirs by right? Because God had already made it plain that He had passed them over in favour of a younger son, Solomon.16
Part of the wonder of the Bible is that what it omits to say is often just as significant as what it does say. Some of Israel’s good kings may actually have been firstborn sons. Josiah may well have been, since he was born when his father was only sixteen.17 But none of them is said to be a firstborn.
Thus the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament present us with one consistent harmonious theme. Not one acknowledged firstborn is ever a success in God’s sight.
To the believer, the reason for this remarkable harmony is obvious. It points forward to the two great lessons of the New Testament.
The first lesson is that all ordinary human firstborn-the cream of the race, so to speak-are failures in God’s eyes. The world had to wait for God’s own firstborn Son to be born before it could see a successful firstborn.18
第一，所有普通人类的长子，在 神的眼中是失败的。这个世界必须等待 神自己的长子出现，才能看到一个成功的长子。
The second lesson is that God’s “firstborn nation”,19 Israel, would be a failure. They would have to be replaced by a younger nation, “The Israel of God”,20 which is the New Testament name for all those, whether Jew or Gentile, who truly follow Christ.
The unbeliever is faced with one more extraordinary fact that demands an explanation. If the writers of the Old Testament were not inspired by God, what made them all combine to produce this instructive piece of harmony?
They certainly did not do it deliberately, because none of them draws attention to it. In two cases (Abraham and Shem) the fact that the firstborn is the unsuccessful son is hidden; to establish it we have to compare several verses and make some calculations.
Indeed, the whole story of “the failure of the firstborns” is carefully concealed, buried deep in the pages of Scripture. We might still be unaware of it if a horny-handed working man who loved his Bible had not unearthed it for us.
What sort of book is this Bible, that contains such wonders for us to find? Does it make sense to believe that unaided human beings produced such harmony by accident?
The Story of Sweat汗水的故事
The word “sweat” is found in only three places in the Bible. Those places are widely separated. One is at the beginning of the Old Testament, one near its end, and one in the New Testament. Yet between them they summarise the whole Christian gospel.
The first mention of sweat is in the Garden of Eden. Adam has just sinned, and God is passing sentence upon him, in these words:
“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground. For out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”21
This sums up the penalty the whole human race pays for its wickedness. First sweat; then dust. First a difficult, tiring life. Then death, the final “wages of sin”22 as Paul describes it.
For the next passage we must turn to the New Testament. There we are introduced to a second “Adam”.23 Whereas the first Adam was to eat bread by the sweat of his brow, the second Adam provided bread-the “Bread of Life”, to use the words of John’s Gospel.24 Luke describes Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, on His way to the Cross. This is part of what it cost Jesus to provide the Bread of Life:
“And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly. And His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”25
By likening his Master’s sweat to “drops of blood”, Luke is evidently hinting that His sacrifice was already beginning. And so it was, for Jesus had just said to his Father, “Not my will, but Thine, be done.”26 This is the very essence of sacrifice, to do God’s will, however much it hurts.
Two gardens, Eden and Gethsemane. They are related to each other like the positive and negative of the same photograph. Sin appeared in Eden, and the sweat of suffering and the dust of death were the consequences. The sweat of sacrifice began to appear in Gethsemane. And the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life were the consequences.在这里，伊甸园和客西马尼园，通过同样的画面相反地联系在一起。罪开始于伊甸园，结果导致了流汗（痛苦）和死亡。而流汗的牺牲开始于客西马尼园，导致了对罪的宽恕和永生。
The third mention of sweat is at the end of Ezekiel’s prophecy. This describes a temple the like of which has never been built on earth. If we follow the guidance of the New Testament,27 this is a symbolic picture (a kind of parable, if you like) of Christ’s redeemed disciples, enjoying immortality in the eternal Kingdom of God.
"They shall have linen bonnets upon their heads, and shall have linen breeches upon their loins; they shall not gird themselves with anything that causeth sweat."28
The Bible tells us what linen stands for. It is a symbol of righteousness.29 So in Ezekiel's picture the redeemed are at last freed for ever from sin, and from the "sweat" (suffering, leading to death) that Adam brought into the world.
The single theme linking these three passages, the only ones in the whole Bible where sweat is mentioned, is too remarkable to be accidental. It is impossible that Ezekiel and Luke could have produced it deliberately, because Ezekiel's passage only makes sense in the light of Luke-and Ezekiel wrote long before Luke was born.
The three passages fit together as if they had been designed to do so. How can we explain this, unless we accept the Bible's own explanation-that one Designer guided the pens of all three writers?30
Four Remarkable Women四位了不起的女人
Both Matthew and Luke give us a genealogy (that is, a line of descent) of Jesus Christ. There are some interesting problems connected with these genealogies, but they must wait until Part Two.
For the present we are only concerned with one remarkable feature of Matthew's genealogy. He traces the line of ancestors from Abraham down to Jesus. Mostly he follows the Jewish custom of mentioning only the male ancestors. But not altogether. In four instances he mentions the wife also. Matthew gives no explanation for this. He leaves us to do our own Bible study and draw our own conclusions. If we do so the results are quite exciting.
The four women are Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and "her that had been the wife of Uriah".31 Here is a summary of what the Old Testament tells us about them.，
Tamar, a Canaanitish girl, was Judah's daughter-in-law. Her husband died young because of his wickedness. Judah then promised to give her his younger son, Shelah, for a husband. But he broke his promise.
As a protest against being let down Tamar disguised herself, pretended to be a prostitute, and seduced her father-in-law. From this illicit union a child was born, from whom all the Jewish kings were descended.
Rahab was another Canaanite with a sordid background. She began life as a prostitute. When Israel invaded Canaan she recognised that they really were the people of the one true God. She went over to Israel's side, became (it would appear) a reformed character, and married an Israelite.
Ruth was a Moabite woman. Although she was reared in a land full of idolatry she was a fine character. She became converted to the Israelitish faith, emigrated to Israel’s land, and found a husband there.
“Her that had been the wife of Uriah” (Bathsheba) was mentioned in Chapter 9. King David violated her, murdered her husband, and married her. Since Uriah was a Hittite this was presumably her nationality also, until David married her.
By mentioning these four women Matthew draws our attention to another very unexpected piece of Bible harmony. Each woman’s story is told in a different book: Tamar’s in Genesis, Rahab’s in Joshua, Bathsheba’s in 2 Samuel, and Ruth’s in the book that bears her own name. But they all have several things in common:
(1) They were all Gentiles.她们都是外邦人。
(2) They were all the subject of a special dispensation of mercy. If the law had been enforced, none of them would have married into Israel. The immorality of Tamar and Bathsheba was punishable by death under Jewish law. Rahab should ordinarily have perished with all the other inhabitants of Jericho. Ruth was a Moabite, and members of that race were expressly barred from adopting Israelitish nationality.32
(3) Yet despite these barriers they were all links in the ancestry of all the Jewish kings-and of Jesus Christ.
Thus, running like a golden thread through Jewish history, the stories of these women condemned the rulers of the Jews for their narrow-mindedness. Throughout their history God had been far more merciful than they were.
They regarded the Gentiles as little better than animals. They were meticulous about keeping the Law of Moses, and severely punished wrongdoers. Yet they could not deny that their own Scriptures declared these four Gentile women, to whom they would have shown no mercy, to be in their Messianic line.
One thing we can be quite sure of. This particular piece of harmony was so embarrassing to the Jews that they would not have created it deliberately. They must have wished that they could have deleted it from their history.
How, then, can we explain its existence, unless we attribute it to the hand of God?
The First Iron Curtain人类最早的铁幕
The first iron curtain in recorded history is probably the one described in the Old Testament. Like the present wall across Germany, this one also split a nation into two pieces.
After 120 years as one united kingdom, the ten tribes in the north of Israel broke away from the two tribes in the south. The larger northern kingdom was called Israel, and set up its capital at Samaria. The smaller southern kingdom was called Judah, and retained the original capital, Jerusalem.
The northern kingdom of Israel never had one godly king. For nearly three hundred years it lived in idolatry. Then the Assyrians conquered it, and carried its people into captivity. They were never heard of again.
The southern kingdom of Judah had a mixture of good and bad kings. Its people were carried into captivity by the Babylonians about a hundred years after the northern kingdom fell to the Assyrians. But their grandchildren were allowed to return to their homeland. Their descendants were still populating the land of Israel under the name “Jews” in the time of Christ.
The people of the northern kingdom are often referred to as “the lost ten tribes”. This is very curious, because there is a thread of harmony running through many books of the Bible which shows that the ten tribes were not lost at all.
This thread is obviously not deliberately contrived. It is so unobtrusive, in fact, that many people still cannot see it-hence that strange popular misconception that the ten tribes were lost. But the thread is there, none the less.
It starts in the First Book of Kings, where we read of a very early king of Israel, Baasha, making his iron curtain. He fortified the border, “that he might not suffer any to go out or come in to Asa, king of Judah”.33
Why did he do that? Other books of the Old Testament supply the answer. Like the builders of the Berlin wall he was not concerned about keeping an enemy out, but with keeping his own people in. All the Godfearing people in the idolatrous north wanted to emigrate to the south, where the Temple in Jerusalem kept true worship alive.
巴沙为什么要这样做？圣经的其它部分告诉给我们答案。就像柏林墙的目的不是为了防止敌人进入，而是为了阻止自己的老百姓逃跑一样，过去的堡垒也是为了阻止自己的人民外逃。因为北方所有敬畏 神的人都想到南方耶路撒冷去敬拜 神，那里有神的殿。
Baasha’s iron curtain was inefficient. He lacked the barbed wire and minefields beloved of modern dictators. The Second Book of Chronicles tells us that when good king Asa purged all the idols out of the Kingdom of Judah, this was the result:
因为缺乏现代人所发明的铁丝网和地雷，他制造铁幕的效果不佳。当犹大的一位非常敬 神的国王亚撒 在犹大清除掉各种偶像崇拜时，结果：
“He gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and them that sojourned with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh and out of Simeon. For they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the Lord his God was with him.”34
A later chapter in the same book tells of another good king of Judah, Jehoshaphat, who also received a wave of immigrants from Israel.35 They must have been very numerous, because Jehoshaphat4~ is actually called “King of Israel” in one place,36 as if to indicate that men from all twelve tribes owed him allegiance.
The result of all this immigration was a rapid increase in the size of Judah’s army. At the time of the split, King Rehoboam had only 180,000 men.37 The next king, Abijah, had 400,000;38 his successor, Asa, 580,000;39 and Jehoshaphat had 1,160,000 men.40
About a hundred years after the Kingdom of Israel had been wiped Out, and the ten tribes were supposedly lost, King Josiah of Judah was receiving tribute from “Manasseh, and Ephraim and of all the remnant of Israel, and of all Judah and Benjamin.”41 Just before they were carried captive into Babylon, Ezekiel described the inhabitants of Jerusalem as “all the residue of Israel . . . the house of Israel and Judah”.42
在北部以色列王国灭亡大约100年以后，北方的10个支派好像是断了线索，但是圣经记载说：犹大的国王约西亚曾经从“从玛拿西、以法莲，和一切以色列剩下的人，以及犹大、便雅悯众人，并耶路撒冷的居民” 收税以修理神殿。在他们被俘虏到巴比伦以前，以西结称耶路撒冷的居民为“以色列所剩下的人”，包括“以色列家和犹大家”（ 以西结书9：8，9）。
Jeremiah hinted that both Judah and Israel would return from captivity in Babylon.43 A modern translation of 1 Chronicles makes it plain that the “Judah” who returned from captivity included men of Israel, and especially of its two leading tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh.44
Finally, so far as the Old Testament is concerned, the book of Ezra describes the return of the Jews from their Babylonian captivity, around 500 B.C. Those Jews are described several times as “Israel”, and on two occasions when they offered sacrifices these comprised twelve animals “according to the number of the tribes of Israel”.45
Quite clearly, then, the Old Testament tells us that only the dregs of the “lost ten tribes” were ever lost. The cream of the ten tribes were absorbed into the two-tribed Kingdom of Judah, which later became called the Jewish nation.
Our thread of harmony has so far run through six different Old Testament books, and covered some 500 years of history. It now jumps the 500-year gap between Ezra and the New Testament, and reappears in the gospels.
Matthew takes a prophecy that Jeremiah made about the children of Rachel (the ten-tribed kingdom), and says it was fulfilled among the Jews of his day.46 Luke reports Jesus as quoting a prophecy from Hosea about the ten-tribed kingdom, and applying it to the Jews in Jerusalem.47 He also mentions that a woman in Jerusalem, Anna, was of the tribe of Asher (one of the ten).48
Peter addresses the Jews as, “Men of Israel . . . all the house of Israel.”49 Paul said that John the Baptist had preached to “all the people of Israel”.50 On another occasion Paul called the Jews “our twelve tribes”.51 James also addresses “the twelve tribes”.52
The thread of history has now passed through 25 different passages of the Bible, in ii different books. It covers a period of a thousand years. And a perfect harmony prevails.
Once more the question has to be faced: what caused this harmony? Did it “just happen”? Or is it evidence that one Master Mind was behind the writing of the Bible?
It Can’t All be Coincidence
The trial had been a long one, and everyone concerned was glad that the end was in sight. Lord Justice Swingingham was summing up the evidence for the prosecution.
“First, we have the evidence of several witnesses that the accused had for years shown a strong dislike for the victim of the crime, and on the evening before the murder he quarrelled violently with him. As he left the public bar of the Royal Oak, several witnesses heard him shout, ‘I’ll get even with you yet!’
In a corner of the jury box a small elderly lady scowled at the judge. “Coincidence! Pure coincidence!” she muttered under her breath.
“Next we must note that the following morning, when the murder took place, the accused was unaccountably absent from work,” the judge continued. “He has been identified by six witnesses as the man who was seen running away from the victim’s house at 10.45 a.m., just after the sound of two shots was heard.”
“More coincidences,” muttered the old lady.
“Moreover the accused has admitted buying a double-barrelled shotgun at The Sportsman’s Emporium at 9.30 that morning. The wounds in the victim’s head are consistent with such a weapon having been fired. When seen running away, the accused was carrying a lengthy object in a sack. He disappeared in the direction of the River Thames, and the police have since recovered the accused’s shotgun from the bed of the river. The accused was not seen again until the next afternoon, when he was arrested at Rotherhithe Docks, trying to stow away on a Spanish ship bound for Venezuela.”
“更重要的是，被告已经承认在案发当天早上9点30分在The Sportsman’s Emporium购买过一支手枪。手枪的弹道痕迹和死者伤口的痕迹相吻合。还有人看见被告逃跑的时候带着一只麻袋，从泰晤士河边的方向逃走，警察随后从河床打捞出被告所使用的手枪，随后被告人们的视线中消失了，直到在一条开往委内瑞拉的西班牙轮船上被逮捕。”
“Coincidences, all the lot of them,” muttered the elderly lady.
“They don’t mean a thing to me.”
Another juror glared at her. “Coincidences be blowed!” he said.
Facts to be Faced不可逃避事实
Now let’s look back over the previous nine chapters, and list the evidence that has to be faced. As you look at it, take care not to make the little old lady’s mistake. Some of the evidence on its own might be the result of coincidence. But it can’t all be coincidence.
Chapter 2 looked at some of the Bible’s many prophecies about the Jews. Their scattering all over the world, their long years of exile, their unpopularity, their frequent persecution, their continued existence despite attempts to exterminate them, and, at long last, their return to their homeland in an ungodly state-all these things were foretold in detail.
And it has all come to pass, exactly as the Bible said it would. The promise that those who blessed the Jews would be blessed, and those who cursed them would be cursed, has also been fulfilled many times.
Chapter 3 began with prophecies about two great cities, Babylon and Tyre. A very different doom was foretold for each city. In each case the Bible’s words came true, centuries after the prophecies were written.
This chapter went on to discuss Daniel’s concentrated summary of the future history of the world. There were to be four, and only four, great “world empires”. After that, the world would remain divided until the time of Christ’s return to the earth. Historians (unbelievers included) agree that the Roman empire was the fourth world empire, and that there has never been another since.
Chapter 4 listed some of the prophecies made about Jesus, long before He was born. The exact place and the approximate date of His birth were prophesied. His altogether unique, righteous life was prophesied. So were His resurrection from the dead and His ascension to heaven.
But, most of all, the Old Testament foretold His crucifixion. Not just the fact, but many of the detailed circumstances of Calvary, were written in advance.
Chapter 5 showed that Jesus had an uncanny foreknowledge of the twentieth century. He foretold the worldwide preaching of God’s Word; the return of the Jews to the land of Israel; and the insecurity, the loss of moral sense, the fear of the future, and the sense of impend. mg doom that overshadow our world today.
The apostle Peter also foretold how our generation would scoff at the idea of the Second Coming, and described the particular scientific principle that educated men quote as their reason for scoffing. He also foresaw the kind of destruction (by fire) that another world war would bring upon our cities.
Chapter 6 described how the gospels portray Jesus, and argued that nobody in the world He lived in could have invented such a character. He did things and said things that no normal man of the age would have dreamed of saying or doing.
Consequently, if the gospel records are true, Jesus was a super. human Man, the Son of God. If they are fiction, then the gospel writers must themselves have been superhuman in their powers, to create such an extraordinary “uninventable” character as Jesus.
Chapter 7 examined the evidence that Jesus rose from the dead.
According to the written testimony of many eyewitnesses, Jesus did rise from the grave. Those eyewitnesses were neither cheats nor simpletons. All the evidence points to the conclusion that they were honestly reporting the wonderful truth.
The birth and growth of Christianity in a world that did not want it, the sudden swing from the Jewish sabbath to the Christian Sunday, the bigoted apostle Paul’s sudden conversion-all these facts need explaining. There is only one adequate explanation for them: that Christ rose from the dead.
Chapter 8 looked at the Law of Moses. We saw that it was thousands of years ahead of its time. In many respects the world has not caught up with it yet.
More than a thousand years before Christ it taught Christian love, love of neighbour and of stranger alike. In an evil idolatrous world it condemned idolatry, and insisted that there was only one God. While other nations worked their slaves to death, the Law made the Jews give both their slaves and themselves a day’s rest every week.
The Law of Moses anticipated many modern discoveries: isolation of infectious diseases; the principles of hygiene and sanitation; the avoidance of disease borne by unsuitable foodstuffs; the conservation of resources; the importance of a stable family life and sound education.
In Chapter 9 we looked at a more subtle kind of evidence. We saw that the Bible “rang true”. It reads like a true book, not a book full of falsehoods. The contrast between it and other ancient religious books is tremendous.
It makes no attempt to whitewash its heroes or to flatter its readers. Ordinary writers try to cover up the truth when it is unpleasant. But the Bible tells the honest truth, however painful that may be to its readers.
We also saw some examples of the “undesigned coincidences” that abound in the pages of the Bible. They are another mark of the simple truthfulness of its writers.
In Chapter 10 we saw how the sixty-six separate books in our Bible have a common theme. Threads of harmony join them all together, into one complete unit.
This harmony is far too remarkable to have occurred by accident. It is so deep-rooted that the authors could not possibly have created it on their own. This is evidence that one Master Mind must have guided the pens of all the forty authors of the Bible.
What Does This Prove? 这又能够证明什么？
A diehard unbeliever would say that it doesn’t “prove” anything. In one sense this is right. The truth of the Bible is not something that can be proved like a theorem in mathematics. But the guilt of a criminal cannot be proved mathematically either. Yet we still say that a criminal is “proved guilty” when there is so much evidence of his guilt that it is unreasonable to doubt it.
This book has marshalled some of the evidence that the Bible is what it claims to be. If you have digested this evidence it will stay with you for the rest of your life, whether you finally accept the Bible or not.
The evidence is not something that can be explained away. To put it all down to coincidence would be as silly as the behaviour of the little lady in the jury box. However you look at it, one fact is inescapable. There is a very great deal of evidence to support the Bible’s claim to be a message from God.
This is where faith comes in.
Faith is not, as a cynic once said, “believing in something you know to be untrue”. Faith comes when evidence convinces you that something must be true. The New Testament defines it like this:
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”1
If you can accept the evidence put before you, and say, “Yes, I am convinced that there must be a God, that the Bible must be His Word, and that Jesus must be His Son”-if you can say that, then you have what the Bible calls faith.
如果你接受摆在你面前的证据，并且说：“是的，我相信一定有 神，圣经肯定是 神的话，并且耶稣肯定是 神的儿子”。如果你肯承认这些事情，你就有了圣经中所说的信心。
But perhaps you cannot say that yet. Perhaps you can only go half. way, and say something like this:
“Yes, the evidence is impressive. It does seem as if there might be something in it. But I don’t know. There are so many things to be said against the Bible, as well as for it.”
If that’s how you feel you have no need to be depressed about it. Many other men and women have felt like that. We read of one such man who came to Jesus, asking for his epileptic child to be healed.
Jesus told him, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”
The man replied, “Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.”2
This sounds rather a contradictory statement to European ears. But it was evidently a Hebrew’s way of saying, “Lord, I almost believe. I want to believe. But I find it hard to believe unreservedly. Lord, help me to believe with all my heart!”
Jesus apparently did help him, because there was a happy outcome. The man’s prayer was answered; his child was healed.
How to Read On如何坚持阅读圣经
There is good practical advice in this story. Part Two of this book will try to deal with all the main obstacles to wholehearted belief in the Bible. Now you know the best way to tackle Part Two.
Read it with this prayer in your heart:
“Lord, I (want to) believe; help Thou mine unbelief!”
This will help you to have an attitude of respect for the Bible. It does not mean that you should suppress your reason. Far from it; God invites you to “gird up the loins of your mind”3 (that is, to use every ounce of intelligence you possess) when you study the Bible.
What God wants us to suppress is our pride. We can come to the Bible, and to Part Two of this book, in two very different ways.
We can say: “The Bible is probably a man-made book. I shall feel free to treat it with contempt, to ridicule it, or to ignore it. I don’t think the Bible has anything for me.” And we shall be right; the Bible will not have anything for us, if we approach it like that.
Or we can say: “The Bible might possibly be what it claims to be
-a message from God Almighty. In case it is, I must treat it thoughtfully, humbly, respectfully, to see what I can learn from it.”
That way, you are sure to benefit. Even if you finally decide the Bible is not the Word of God, you will still learn more by adopting the humble approach.
And if-as I believe-the Bible is the Word of God, you will gain an infinitely greater blessing. For God has said:
“This is the man to whom I will look: he that is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at My Word.”4
我相信圣经是 神的话。如果你也信，你也会得到无穷的祝福。因为 神曾经说过：
But What About. . .?
Problems? Of Course!
So now it’s the unbelievers’ turn to bat. We have looked at the main reasons why believers believe. Now we are going to look at the main difficulties which (so they say) prevent unbelievers from believing.
But before we begin, I want to make one thing quite clear. I am not the least bit embarrassed by these difficulties. Neither need you be. Every branch of human study bristles with problems. It would be very strange if the most profound subject of all-the study of the Word of the Almighty-were free from problems.
Of course there are problems connected with the Bible. It is exactly what you would expect.
A Parallel with Science
In my circle of acquaintances there are many science graduates who believe implicitly that the Bible is the Word of God. I could not name nearly so many arts graduates who believe the Bible. This may just be because I happen to know more science graduates. But in fact I think my experience is fairly general. Several friends from different universities have told me that there seem to be more Bible believers in their science departments than their arts departments.
One reason for this may be that science graduates are aware of the vast number of unsolved problems in science.
Take physics, for example. At school you are taught how Sir Isaac Newton laid the foundations of modern physics. You learn the various basic laws he propounded, and you accept them as absolute truth. You appreciate their beauty and simplicity, and you realise why
Alexander Pope wrote:
“Nature and Nature’s laws lay hid in night
God said, ‘Let Newton be!’ and all was light.”
Then you go to university, and are taught that Newton’s laws don’t explain everything. Problems arise that can only be explained by Einstein’s theories. These work in circumstances where Newton’s laws break down. But they are very much more complicated, and you realise why Sir John Squire capped Pope’s lines with:
以后你上了大学，老师教导你牛顿的法则不能解释所有的事情。这些问题只能够用爱因斯坦的理论来解释，它可以解释牛顿的理论解释不了的地方。但是这些理论非常复杂，你会体会为什么John Squire 爵士会套用保罗的诗歌这样说：
“It did not last: the Devil howling, ‘Ho!
Let Einstein be!’ restored the status quo.”
Then you finish your university course and start doing research. Very soon you realise that there are lots and lots of problems you weren’t told about as an undergraduate. Einstein’s propositions nowadays look almost as incomplete as Newton’s did a half-century ago.
Strange problems have arisen in modern physics that were unheard of until recently. Is there such stuff as “antimatter”? If so, how much of it is there in the universe? Does it weigh less than nothing? Can atomic particles travel backwards through time?
These are only some of the problems that atomic physicists are debating today. It may take many years to answer them. And in answering them, many other unanswered questions are bound to arise.
And therefore . . ? Therefore we can’t trust atomic physics, because of all these unsolved problems? Obviously that does not follow. Atomic power stations work. That is proof enough that atomic physics is on the right lines. The existence of unanswered questions merely shows that many more exciting discoveries lie around the corner.
In just the same way, it would be absurd to dismiss the Bible just because there are some unsolved problems connected with it. Instead, we should study it eagerly, wondering what interesting discoveries lie in store for us.
The evidence of Part One of this book has shown that the claims of the Bible are solidly backed by evidence. As you read through Part Two you will see that very many of the problems connected with it have already been answered.
Every solved problem strengthens the case for the Bible. For if so many of the unbelievers’ objections can be answered already, it is reasonable to suppose that all the rest could in time.
A small boy once had a conversation with an eminent university professor. Afterwards he told his father:
“I couldn’t understand everything that man said.”：
“That doesn’t surprise me!” replied the father, with a smile.
Now the Bible tells us that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God. He was called “the express image of God’s Person”.1 The words that He spoke were said to be the very words of God.2
现在，圣经告诉我们拿撒勒人耶稣是 神的儿子，他被称为“神本体的真像”。他所说的话就是 神的话。
Consequently the gap between Jesus and the rest of mankind was far, far greater than the gap between the professor and the small boy. Naturally there were many things about Jesus that the Jews could not understand. But they reacted most unreasonably. They used these problems as an excuse for their unbelief.
To begin with, none of the “best people” followed Him. “Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees (religious leaders) believed on Him?” was their snobbish excuse.3
Then again, He was such an unpredictable person. He never would behave as they thought the Son of God ought to behave.
When they wanted to honour Him and make Him king, He went away.’ When a faithful disciple risked his own life to protect Jesus, instead of thanks he received a rebuke.5
On the cross, He was given a plain challenge to prove Himself: “If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him!”6 But He made no attempt to answer them.
It is easy for us to see the reason for His actions. We know now that “the cross must come before the crown”. But the Jews then did not. To them, Christ’s behaviour sometimes did not make sense.
Also, His background seemed all wrong for a preacher. The gospels tell how men sneered at His lower-class origin,7 His lack of education,8 and the short interval between His parents’ wedding and His birth.’
Looking back, we can see now that there was a simple solution to all these problems. But at the time the disciples were not able to answer them all. They could only say: “We believe and are sure that Thou art the Holy One of God.”10
Imagine that someone had said to them:
“Why are you so sure of your beliefs, when there are so many problems connected with this man Jesus?”
They probably would have replied like this:
“Because there is so much positive evidence that He is the Son of God. That’s what convinces us. We are not bothered about the problems. Of course there are some things we don’t understand-yet. But we shall understand them, one day.”
And they would have been right. Most of the problems did sort themselves out. The books of the New Testament give us the solution to them.
It is like that with the Bible itself. The positive evidence is very convincing. It is far too weighty to be dismissed by crying, “Yes, but what about the problems connected with the Bible?”
For in the first place there is the point made already, that we would expect to find problems connected with a Book given to mankind by God. If there were no problems, people would rightly say, “This is altogether too simple. It is kids’ stuff. It can’t possibly come from a Supreme Being.”
Secondly, many of the so-called problems are not really problems at all. They are silly little objections raised by men who have never really studied the Book they condemn. And finally, as we shall see as we go on, most of the major problems can be answered quite satisfactorily.
So we are going to look at those problems that worry so many people, but we are not going to worry about them. It is the most natural thing in the world that they should be there.
The Bible believer is not afraid to look those problems squarely in the face. He knows that he is arguing from a position of strength. (He only wishes that the unbeliever was equally willing to face the facts!)
One last suggestion before you set out on Part Two. Don’t keep saying to yourself: “But this can’t possibly be right. Hardly anybody believes this, so it must be wrong.”
We shall see the answer to that objection, too, before we’ve finished.
Can We Trust the Experts?
Of course we can trust the experts. We have to. Nowadays we have no choice. This is the age of the experts.
I cannot fly an aeroplane. Yet I travel by air dozens of times every year. I fasten my seat belt and then relax in my seat, trusting the pilot to do his job properly.
In his turn the pilot has to trust lots of other experts, upon whom his own safety depends. Fifty years ago, pilots took apride in flying by the seat of their pants, as they called it. They meant that they depended entirely on the feel of the plane, and the’ sight of their own two eyes. They were even their own mechanics and checked their flimsy craft for airworthiness before taking off.
Those days are gone for ever. Nowadays it takes a large team of experts to design and build an aircraft. Aerodynamicists, electronics engineers, stress analysts, and hosts of other narrow specialists all work together. None of them can do the jobs of the others. They all trust their colleagues to do their own jobs properly.
Before the plane takes off one set of experts is needed to service the engines, another the hydraulics Systems, another the radar equipment. Even in the air the pilot is not the master of his own aircraft. He obeys the instructions of a whole army of air traffic controllers whom he trusts to keep him free from mid-air collisions, and takes advice from weather forecasters.
All these experts do their jobs well. They are trustworthy. They have to be. Otherwise planes would come crashing down in all directions like roofing tiles in a hurricane, and the airlines would never get any passengers.
Even if you never go by air, you can’t live in the modern world without relying on experts. You may take for granted services like water supply, gas, electricity, telephones, television and transport. But they all depend on experts to keep them functioning. Even the food we eat and the medicines we take might poison us unless lots of experts in the food and drugs industries and the Public Health Departments were reliable.
In the same way, I could never have written this book without trusting a great many experts. Every quotation of the Bible in English accepts the work of many scholars. Some of them have compared large numbers of ancient Hebrew and Greek manuscripts of the Bible to produce the best possible Hebrew and Greek texts, and other scholars have translated these into English. I have been forced to quote experts in history, archaeology, biology, geology, anthropology and many other fields where I have no expert knowledge of my own.
Experts are Only Human专家也是人
Without a doubt it is very useful to have a world full of experts. But it also brings some very real dangers. It is easy to forget that experts are just as human as the rest of us. But they are. And in their common humanity lies a great danger.
I am not merely referring to the fact that even experts can make mistakes. There is a more serious danger than this. Lord Acton put his finger upon a deep-rooted characteristic of human nature, when he said:
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”1
He was thinking mainly of political power. But it is true of every kind of power. Experts today wield a kind of intellectual power over the man in the street. And there is every sign that they are in danger of being corrupted by that power.
The whole purpose of this chapter is to sound a very necessary warning. Don’t let the experts pull the wool over your eyes. In many respects your opinion may be worth as much as theirs-even in some matters where they might reasonably claim to know better than you.
Perhaps you think that this is a very negative matter with which to occupy a whole chapter. If so, it may help to look at it this way. When good King Josiah came to the throne of Israel he found Jerusalem full of idols. Before he could begin to restore the true worship of Jehovah, he had first to destroy all those idols.2
“The experts” are the false gods of our age. They pretend to have an authority, a near-infallibility, that they do not possess. And most people are taken in by them.
For example: “Fornication won’t hurt you-it will do you good!”, say many psychologists. (With my own ears I once heard a psychiatrist proclaiming this.) Millions of people have lapped up this teaching, and now the foundations of family stability are tottering throughout the western world.
Worse still, “the experts” have undermined people’s faith in the Bible. If you doubt this, take any unbeliever you happen to know, and ask him exactly why he does not believe the Bible. Press him hard. Don’t let him evade the issue. Keep on until he states his real reasons.
Will he say, “Because I have made a very careful study of the Bible, and have proved it to be quite inaccurate.”? Will he? Not likely!
It is almost certain that, if he is honest, his real reasons will begin like this: “Because they say that . .
“They say.” They. The experts. He has a vague notion that “the scientists” say the Bible is unscientific, “the historians” say the Bible is historically inaccurate, and “the leaders of religion” say that the Bible is not what it makes out to be.
And that’s enough for him. If “they” condemn the Bible, why should he look any further? They are the experts. They are bound to be right. The Bible is dead-long live the experts! Thus our friend justifies his unbelief.
So before we can safely begin to look at the objections raised against the Bible, we must first take a look at the people who raise them. Who are “they”? Are they really as wise as they like us to think? Are we really being foolish if we dare to question the experts’ conclusions?
A New Look at the Experts 重新看待专家
To see the matter in perspective it is necessary to note a number of points that are often overlooked. Because of their importance I shall list these points first, and then go back and expand them.
(1) Experts deal with both facts and opinions.专家既要处理事实，也要提出意见。
(2) Experts in some fields are much more reliable than experts in other fields.某一方面的专家比另外一些方面的专家的建议更可靠。
(3) Experts disagree enormously among themselves.专家之间经常会有不同的意见。
(4) Experts in every field are very unreliable when they speculate about the future, or (under some circumstances) the past. 不管是哪一方面的专家，在预测未来的时候都是非常不可靠的，在某些情况下，对过去也不了解。
(5) A surprisingly large number of experts have been caught deliberately deceiving the public.有很多专家在故意地欺骗公众。
(6) Experts have very frequently been led astray when their emotions have become involved.专家经常被自己的感情所蒙蔽。
(7) Experts have a regrettable tendency to exaggerate their own importance, and to persuade the public that they know more than they really do. 专家常常夸大自己的重要性，欺骗公众他们知道的比他们实际知道的更多。
(8) Non-specialists very often can-and do-make better decisions than experts, once the experts have stated the facts requiring a decision.没有一个专家能够一直比其他专家作的更好，得出来的结论更准确。
(1) Facts and Opinions 事实和意见
A philosopher might not agree that experts deal with both facts and opinions. He might say that there are no such things as facts, only opinions of differing degrees of probability.
For practical purposes, however, the distinction between facts and opinions will serve us quite well, so long as we remember that there is no sharp line of distinction between the two. Now and again we might meet a borderline statement, one that Mr. A would call a fact and Mr. B would call an opinion. But most statements can safely be classified as one or the other.
For example, suppose that in 1968 you had asked a chemist, “If I spray my kitchen with DDT, will it keep the flies down?” He would have answered, “Yes”. That would have been a fact.
If you had gone on and asked, “But is DDT harmful to man?” he would probably have replied, “No.” That would have been an opinion. And it would have been wrong. Yet if you had disagreed with him, he would probably have thought you were a cheeky ignoramus.
This illustrates the first pitfall we must avoid. Because they are generally right on their facts, the experts nearly always attach too much weight to their opinions. And so does a gullible public.
(2) Experts in Different Fields不同领域的专家
Whatever the man in the street may think, many intellectuals are well aware of the unreliability of experts. For example, the Australian philosopher Alan Wood has stated:
“Subjects should be arranged in a kind of hierarchy-for instance, Mathematics, Physics, Biology, Economics, Politics, Psychology-in which experts are more and more likely to be wrong.”3
He does not state where his own subject, philosophy, comes in the pecking order. But he obviously has no illusions about philosophy, because he reveals in the same book that Bertrand Russell, the most famous philosopher of the century, said when he was in his late seventies:
“…philosophy is nonsense. I am now left regretting my ill-spent youth. . . . nine-tenths of what is regarded as philosophy is humbug.”4
When I first heard those words quoted, I felt sure that they must have been taken out of context, so as to misrepresent Russell’s views. So I obtained the book, only to find that Russell undoubtedly did mean what those words imply-that most of the subject that had occupied his great brain for so long was a load of old rubbish.
Wood’s list of subjects is well chosen. Mathematics comes top, because provided that a careful mathematician starts with the right assumptions he is almost bound to arrive at the right conclusion. Physics is on rather more shaky ground, because it is based on a mixture of experiment, mathematics and deduction. Experiments can go wrong, and deductions can be false.
Biology is one rung further down the ladder. This is because living things are vastly more complex than atoms and molecules. Biological experiments are therefore much more likely to give misleading answers than experiments in physics.
Then come economics, politics and psychology. These all deal with the behaviour of that highly unpredictable creature, Man. Lots and lots of scope for making mistakes here!
Unfortunately the experts in the high-mistake-rate subjects (like biology and psychology) try to bask in the reflected glory of the low-mistake-rate subjects (like mathematics). They say, for instance, “We’ve installed a big computer in our laboratory, so we shan’t make nearly so many mistakes in future.” In fact the possession of a computer would not make the slightest difference to the accuracy of their conclusions. It would merely enable them to turn Out their dubious results a lot faster than before.
(3) Disagreements Among Experts专家们之间的不同意见
In 1954 I took a first-aid course at the laboratory where I work. We used the latest textbook, published only a few months before. This is how it told us to treat a shocked patient:
“The application of warmth is the first of the measures to be applied to a shocked patient. Cover the patient with blankets; place hot-water bottles round him...”5
Some years later I enrolled in a refresher course. Again the latest textbook (published in 1965) was used. But this time the advice on treatment for shock began with a warning in heavy black type:
“WARNING: DO NOT OVERHEAT A SHOCKED PATIENT. Heat causes the superficial blood vessels to dilate and so increase their capacity. The amount of circulating blood thus becomes even more inadequate for the needs of the body.”6
Thus in 1954 the experts said, “Keep ‘em warm!”; in 1965 they said, “Keep ‘em cool!” But it would be naive to imagine that at some fixed date between 1954 and 1965 the whole medical profession changed its views overnight. There must have been a period of controversy, while the Coolists gradually conquered the Warmists.
Similar differences of opinion among experts are going on all the time. Biologists argue bitterly about whether certain drugs and pesticides should be banned. Educationists disagree violently about comprehensive education and corporal punishment. Space scientists cannot agree whether men or machines should be used to explore the moon. The list of disagreements could go on until it filled this book.
The lesson is clear. Very often, “The experts say . . .” means nothing more than, “The opinion of the side that happens to be winning at the moment is . .
(5) When Experts Speculate about the Future or the Past
Physicists come near the top of Alan Wood’s reliability league. Yet even physicists can go hopelessly astray when they try to predict the future. A scientific journal in 1968 published an article, “How Fallible Can you Get?”7 This showed how wrong physicists had been about the future of atomic power.
Lord Rutherford, perhaps the greatest atomic physicist of the early twentieth century, was convinced that there never would be any practical application of atomic research. Around 1950, leading atomic scientists in France, Russia and America all declared that atomic power stations would not become commercial propositions until the end of the century.
What happened, to make these wise men such false prophets? Simply this: they took the present as a guide to the future. Unfortunately for them some completely unforeseen events occurred, which made the future very different from what they had envisaged.
There are two lessons in this. The first is obvious: it is very dangerous to use the present to predict the future.
The second lesson is much less obvious, but just as true: it is equally risky to assume that the present is a sure guide to the past. Unknown events in days gone by can upset a scientist’s deductions about the past, just as surely as an unforeseen event in days to come can upset his predictions.
This is a very important lesson indeed. Experts of all sorts-astronomers, geologists, biologists, anthropologists, physicists and others-often make sweeping statements about the past. Some of these statements, if true, would make nonsense of the Bible. It is therefore most necessary to remember two things:
(a) They are statements of opinion, not fact. 这些声明是个人意见，不是事实。
(b) They are always based upon the very shaky assumption that no unknown events have occurred to upset their deductions. 他们的结论通常是建立在一个不牢固的假设之上：不会有他们不知道的事情发生，这些事情会让他们的结论站不住脚。
(5) Experts Who Cheat 骗子专家
The popular conception of a scientist is of a man in a pure white coat with a pure white conscience. He could no more tell a lie than a computer could make a mistake. Deceive the public? No, not he!
Consequently, when a politician makes a promise everybody knows to take it with a grain of salt; but if a scientist states something, everybody accepts it as truth, perfect truth. But honest scientists have no desire to be set on a pedestal like this. We know that we cannot live up to it.
Recently the editor of one of the world’s leading scientific journals warned the public:
“There is no evidence that scientists always tell the truth, and the chances are that they are only marginally more honest than, say, politicians.”8
Another well known scientific journal published an article by Dennis Rosen of London University on scientific frauds.9 After dealing with some famous frauds, like the Piltdown Man, Rosen considered the problem of widespread scientific cheating. He suggested that up to five per cent of scientific papers submitted for publication contain material that the authors know to be false. Fortunately editors are good at spotting frauds, and only a minority of these deceitful papers get published.
It would be wrong to make too much of this. Scientists are no less truthful than their non-scientific colleagues. But it is as well to remember that they are no more truthful than the average man, either. And the same applies to every other kind of expert.
(6) What Emotional Pressure Can Do在情感压力之下
Although only a small minority of scientists would deliberately deceive others, a much larger number are liable to deceive themselves when under emotional pressure. There is plenty of proof that this is so. Here are three examples.
Well into the 1960s, when the evidence that smoking caused lung cancer was absolutely overwhelming, quite a few research scientists were still fighting a desperate rearguard action. Even when it looked a hopeless task, they kept on trying to find some other explanation for the evidence.
Why did they waste their time and energy in this way? In most cases because their scientific judgement was warped by emotional pressures. Some of them had well paid jobs with tobacco companies. Some were young men addicted to smoking who did not want to give it up. Others had been heavy smokers for many years, and were pathetic ally trying to reassure themselves that they were not in danger of death.
A second example comes from Russia. As the translator of a Russian book on the Lysenko affair10 has said in his foreword:
“The story of Soviet genetics in the period 1937-1964 is, perhaps, the most bizarre chapter in the history of modern science.”
Briefly, the story goes like this. Lysenko was an ambitious young Russian with very little scientific knowledge but a flair for politics. By mixing the two he became one of Stalin’s favourites. In 1937 Stalin gave him supreme control of all research in agriculture and biology in the Soviet Union, and he hung on to this position for twenty-seven years.
The results were disastrous for Russia. Lysenko directed agricultural research along so many unscientific paths that Russian agriculture practically stood still, or even slipped backwards, for a quarter of a century.
Worse still, he outlawed the whole modern science known as genetics. This science is concerned with the way in which characteristics are passed from parents to offspring (in both the animal and the vegetable kingdoms) by invisibly small objects known as “genes”. By 1937 there was already a great deal of experimental evidence that genes existed, although nobody had ever seen one. In 1953 Watson and Crick in England showed what genes were evidently made of, and in 1958 were awarded a Nobel prize for their discovery.
All through this period Lysenko laid down the law to Russian biologists: “There are no such things as genes. They are a capitalist myth. Heredity works on entirely different principles. Toe the line ~ go to jail!”
Some strong-minded scientists, including Vavilov, one of the greatest agriculturists in history, went to prison and died there. A few others formed a kind of “scientific underground”. But the great majority of Soviet biologists and agriculturists were swept along by the tide, and accepted Lysenko’s crazy ideas. Textbooks were rewritten, and research programmes into the most ridiculous subjects were set up.
Three hundred higher degrees were granted for research into “vegetative hybridisation by grafting’ ‘-something that has long been known to be impossible.11 A Stalin Prize of 200,000 roubles was awarded to a lady called Lepeshinskaya, for (allegedly) discovering how to create living animal cells out of vegetable cells and vice versa! 12
It was the heyday of quacks and crackpots, but the dark night of Soviet biology. And all this at a time when in some other fields (astronautics, for instance) Soviet science was leading the world.
The most alarming feature of the story is the way in which the great majority of Soviet biologists were genuinely deceived. In 1964 Lysenko was at last sacked, and for one year (1965-66) biology teaching was suspended in all Russian schools while textbooks were rewritten. Yet in 1966 Medvedev (the writer of the Russian book about Lysenko’s activities) lamented that so many Soviet scientists had been brainwashed for so many years that Lysenko still had many supporters.13
It is clear from this story that scientists-whole regiments of scientists-can be led hopelessly astray. In the early years Lysenko suppressed his opponents by force. But afterwards a whole new generation of Soviet biologists grew up, genuinely believing that Lysenko was right. They were taught that way at school and college, and hardly any of them questioned it.
In his concluding chapter Medvedev makes two very wise observations:
“The false doctrine of Lysenko is by no means an isolated instance. . . . Many theoretical branches of science and the well. known and flourishing system of homeopathy fall, no doubt, into the category of false doctrine.”14
“Monopoly in science by one or another false doctrine, or even by one scientific trend, is an external symptom of some deep-seated sickness of a society.”15 (The italics are mine.)
These vigorous warnings by Medvedev are a fitting introduction to the third and last example. A friend of mine is a professor who holds a science chair in a famous British university. Like a number of my scientist friends he rejects the Darwinian theory of evolution as a piece of guesswork based on inadequate evidence.
One day in 1968 I went to see him, and outlined a novel programme of research that would fall right inside the scope of his department. If successful it would have thrown new light on some aspects of evolutionary theory, and would probably have exposed some important weaknesses in the Darwinists’ case. I suggested that he might like to set a Ph.D. student to work upon it. (A Ph.D. student is a young graduate who stays on at university for an extra three or four years doing research, to gain a doctorate.)
He shook his head sadly. “I couldn’t possibly do that.”
“Why not? Don’t you like the suggestion?”
“Yes, I do. I think it’s a good idea, and if I have time I’d like to work on it myself. But I wouldn’t dare to let a student work on it.”
This mystified me. “Why not a student?” I asked.
“You obviously have no idea of the prejudice that exists in British universities. No matter how brilliant the research, or how sound the conclusions, a research thesis exposing the weaknesses of Darwinism would never get a fair hearing. The scales would be so heavily weighted against him that the poor student would be most unlikely to get his doctorate.”
What did Medvedev say? “Monopoly . . . by one scientific trend is an external symptom of some deep-seated sickness of a society.”
(7) Experts Exaggerate Their Importance专家们夸大他们的重要性
Every so often some far-sighted expert tries to warn the public. In 1950 an American scientist, Anthony Standen, published his best-selling book, Science is a Sacred Cow. But by 1969 his warning had been forgotten, and another scientist, David Horrobin, had to say it all over again in his book, Science is God.16
即使是这样，还是有一些充满预见能力的专家试图向公众提出警告。1950年，一位美国科学家Anthony Standen写了一本书：科学如何被神话的？（Science is a Sacred Cow？）1969年以前，他的警告一直被人们所忽视，于是另外一位科学家，David Horrobin，不得不在自己的书中重复强调这一观点。
Despite the rather flamboyant title, there is nothing blasphemous about the book. Horrobin’s title means that modern man has turned science into a false god, and given it far more respect than it deserves.
Horrobin, like Standen before him, tries to cut science down to size. He is a professor of medical physiology, and is particularly severe about his own branch of science. He lifts the lid off, and shows the layman what lies underneath all the pronouncements of the experts. Here are a few quotations from his book:
“The history of science is littered with so-called facts which were later found not to be facts at all.... Anyone who has ever worked in a laboratory, particularly a biological laboratory, is fully aware of the vulnerability of experimental fact. Experiments are always going wrong..”17
“The scientific study of man is a myth, perhaps the most dangerous of all the myths of modern civilisation. Ultimately the psychologist, the psychiatrist, the sociologist must each confess that his work must be prefaced by ‘I believe’ and not by ‘I have proved scientifically’. The intellectual basis for what the scientist says of man is no stronger than that for what the theologian says. By means of a gigantic confidence trick, by pretending that the study of man is science) by hanging on the coat tails of solid) successful, reliable physics and engineering, an army of atheists and agnostics has forced many theologians to turn and flee.”18
“In a manner of which any unthinking nineteenth-century bishop would have approved, many scientists are defending with untoward vigour positions which seem to me and probably to most people to be untenable.”19
“Five equally clever men may have access to precisely the same information, and yet may express five different opinions about a particular issue. Their answers depend more on their preconceived ideas than on the facts available.”20
“Science is the modern god.... Twentieth-century scientists, like nineteenth-century theologians, make the wildest claims on behalf of their god.... Twentieth-century charlatans of a myriad varieties offer their panaceas for society and attempt to mislead the people by calling their misbegotten ideas scientific. And bewildered twentieth-century common men have a crude faith in their god which they do not care to have questioned too closely…”21 (The italics are mine throughout.)
Very well. We have been warned. The experts (scientists in particular) thrust their opinions at us with the zeal of false prophets. And ordinary people lap it up, like devoted worshippers of some false god.
Compare that last quotation from Horrobin with some words from the Old Testament, written about 2,500 years ago:
“A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land. The prophets prophesy falsely and the priests bear rule by their means, and My people love to have it so”22
Human nature doesn’t change much, does it? People always have liked to listen to the voice of “Authority”. People positively love to be led astray by false prophets and dogmatising experts. That is the way we are all made.
Yes, we have been warned!
(8) You Can Decide For Yourself你可以为自己做决定
Who decides whether a man accused of murder is guilty? A panel of legal experts? Certainly not. The legal experts set out all the evidence, and then a jury of ordinary men and women-folk like you and me-make the vital decision.
Who decides whether Britain shall invest hundreds of millions of pounds in developing a proposed new aircraft? A group of aircraft engineers? Certainly not. The decision is made by civil servants and politicians who couldn’t tell a jet engine from a brass trumpet except by its size.
Who decides whether to ban certain chemicals from foodstuffs, or to limit the use of x-rays in hospitals? Again it is not the chemists or the doctors, but the civil servants and politicians that decide.
This is the one redeeming feature in the present situation. We are not yet governed by the experts. Top decisions are still made by non-specialists, who listen to their expert advisers, weigh the evidence, and then reach a conclusion.
This is enough to show that you do not have to be an expert to make up your mind about some important subject. Like a jury, like a civil servant, you are well able to consider the evidence and decide for yourself.
So don’t be overawed by “the experts” as you read on. Do not let anybody bluff you into thinking that the majority view is the only view, or that those who accept the minority viewpoint taken in this book are feeble-minded.
Weigh up the evidence for and against the Bible as honestly as you can. Then make up your own mind, without worrying about what “they” say.
Remember that all through history, in every branch of knowledge, minority opinions have often proved right in the long run.
About twenty years ago I went to a big conference at London University. The theme was “Evolution and Religion”, and the opening address was given by a world-famous theologian.
His subject was “Evolution and Theology”. He spent his time tearing the first three chapters of the Bible to pieces. According to him there never was any such place as the Garden of Eden, nor any such people as Adam and Eve. What “the experts” said was sacred; and therefore what Genesis said was false. And so, he concluded triumphantly, we must now regard Genesis as a collection of myths and legends.
Among the eminent people present was one of Britain’s best-known scientists, the late J. B. S. Haldane. There was also a young science student that nobody had ever heard of.
出席这次会议的知名人物当中，有英国著名的科学家霍尔丹（J. B. S. Haldane），也有一位大家连名字都没有听说过的年轻科学工作者。
As soon as the meeting was thrown open to discussion, the young student stood up and quoted the following Bible passages:
“Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”1
“As by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men - . . death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the likeness of Adam’s transgression... For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ”.2
“I should like to ask the speaker,” he said, “how he thinks we ought to regard the New Testament’s teaching about salvation? Those two passages (and others) show that Paul regarded Adam as a real man who brought sin and death into the world, and Jesus Christ as another real man who brought back righteousness and a way of eternal life.
“If Paul was mistaken about the very foundation of his teaching, how can we rely upon anything he wrote about salvation? If one of Paul’s two key men-Adam-was a myth, how can we be sure that the other key man-Jesus-wasn’t a myth also?”
The world-famous theologian looked most uncomfortable. He got up, muttered something about this being too big an issue to deal with in the time at his disposal, and sat down again.
He looked even more uncomfortable when the atheist J. B. S. Haldane began to rub salt in his wounds.
“I should like to underline the commonsense remarks made by this young man,” said Professor Haldane. “It is high time that orthodox theologians like our speaker today took a critical look at themselves. They are struggling to defend an absurd, impossible position.
“They are trying to adopt a compromise in circumstances where no compromise is possible. The Bible claims, from beginning to end, to be the inspired, infallible, Word of God. Either this claim is true, or it is false. There is no half-way position.
“他们在试图作出妥协，而妥协是不可能的。圣经从开始到结束，一直都在声明是 神的话语，是 神的启示，是不可更改的。这种声明要么是正确的，要么是错误的。没有中间道路。
“If it is false (as I believe) then there is no foundation for Christianity at all. If it is true (as this young man believes) then Christians are obliged to accept all the Bible. There just isn’t any logical alternative.”
There was a hush for a few moments as the audience pondered the great scientist’s words.
No Compromise 没有妥协
Haldane was right, of course. There are some situations where compromise is a good thing, and some situations where compromise just doesn’t make sense.
Suppose that you say to the filling station attendant who has just filled your tank, “Six gallons at thirty-six and a half, that’s two pounds nineteen, isn’t it?” and he replies, “Afraid not, Sir, two twenty-nine, please.”
Do you say, “All right, let’s compromise; call it two twenty-five”?
Of course you don’t. Compromise is absurd in a situation like that. You know that there is only one right answer-your answer-and you stick out for it.
In the same way, as Haldane’s penetrating intellect saw so clearly, there is only one right answer for the Christian.
Jesus Christ taught His followers to call Him “Master”.3 The word He used did not mean “boss”; it meant “schoolmaster”. He called His followers “disciples”-a word that meant “students”. He made it quite clear what the relationship between Him and us should be:
“The disciple (student) is not above his Master (teacher) ... And why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”4
The lesson is quite clear. Our place is to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn, as Mary did.5 If we have the nerve to set ourselves up as judges over Jesus and try to decide where He went wrong, then we are courting disaster.
Yet this is just what so many modern theologians do, when they say that the Bible is a mixture of truth and error. For Jesus taught just the opposite.
When Jesus lived on earth about four-fifths of our Bible was already written. We now call this “the Old Testament”, but in those days the Jews called it “the Scripture”, or “that which is written”, or “the Law”, or “the Law and the prophets”, or “Moses and the prophets”.
Jesus used the same terms, and this is what He said about it:
“The Scripture cannot be broken.”6
“It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one tittle of the Law to fail.”7 (A tittle is a small stroke on a Hebrew letter, rather like the crossing of our letter t.)
“Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me, for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?”8
“They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them . . . If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”9
Actions Speak Louder than Words 行为比声音更有力
Jesus was a preacher who lived up to His own message. He not only said that the Old Testament was true and authoritative; He showed by the way He used it that He really believed it to be so.
Look at the way Jesus conquered temptation. Three times the tempter came to Jesus in the wilderness, and three times Jesus defeated him. Each time He used the same method. “It is written ...”, He said, quoting an Old Testament passage that disposed of the temptation.10
The tempter did not stop to argue. He did not say to Jesus, “Yes, but that verse wasn’t really written by Moses. It was only attributed to him by the scribe who wrote it, hundreds of years after Moses was dead.” It was well known that Jesus accepted the first five books of the Bible as the Word of God given by Moses.11 To Jesus, if something was “written”, that settled the matter.
Similarly, Jesus frequently silenced the Pharisees and Sadducees by appealing to Scripture. “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures”,12 was His complaint.
Six times in Matthew’s gospel alone He asked a question with the devastating opening: “Have ye not read ...?” or, “Did ye never read ...?”13 Each time the introductory words were followed by a quotation, one from Genesis, one from Exodus, one from 1 Samuel, one from Numbers, and two from the Psalms. Each time He appears to have rendered His opponents speechless.
Many times He settled disputes once and for all by quoting Scripture. When Jesus said to His religious opponents, “It is written . or, “What is written . . .”, as He did on at least six occasions,14 that always finished the argument.
Jesus could, of course, have relied on His own authority to settle disputes. He claimed that His own words were the words of God.15 Often He did speak on His own authority, with a “Verily, I say unto you”.16
But when a really big issue arose-resisting the tempter, or halting the attacks of the Pharisees and Sadducees-Jesus generally appealed to Scripture. To Him this was the ultimate authority. This was absolute Truth. There could be no gainsaying Scripture.
Route Map to the Cross通向十字架的道路
Jesus did not drift through life like most of us, taking each emergency as it comes. From the beginning He knew exactly where He was going to the Cross. During the last part of His mortal life He made this clear to His disciples:
“From that time forth began Jesus to show unto His disciples how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.”17
This road to the Cross was not easy to walk. It took all His iron determination to follow it to the end. An hour or two before His arrest He had one last chance to run away, and the temptation to escape was enormous.
Luke tells us how He prayed for strength to go through with it. He was in “an agony”, and “His sweat was as it were great drops of blood, falling down to the ground.”18 Come what may, He knew that He must go forward. He expressed His determination to do so in the words: “Father. . . not My will, but Thine, be done.”19
With this resolve to conquer His own human feelings and to do God’s will, He went to a terrible death.
But how did He know that it was God’s will for Him to die by slow torture? He would have had to be very, very sure that it was necessary before He could go willingly to the horrors ahead of Him.
Yet He was sure that it was God’s will. He had known all along what He must do. Time and again He had told His disciples how He knew. Here are four examples, one from each gospel:
“And He took unto Him the twelve and said unto them, ‘Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished. For GOD’S TRUTH
He shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on. And they shall scourge Him and put Him to death; and the third day He shall rise again.”20
“The Son of Man goeth as it is written of Him; but woe unto that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!”21
“He answered and told them...how it is written of the Son of Man that He must suffer many things and be set at nought.”22
“Search the Scriptures - . . they are they which testify of Me.”23 Had there been no crucified Saviour there would have been no Christianity. And the Saviour would never have been crucified unless He had believed-implicitly-that the Old Testament revealed exactly what sufferings He must endure. What sort of disciples (the word means “pupils”, remember) of His should we be, if we thought that He was sadly mistaken in His view of the Old Testament?
Yet there are, unhappily, many would-be “pupils” of His who do think Him mistaken. They have even invented a complicated theological explanation for His “mistakes”, and have given it a Greek name24 which makes it sound much more clever than it really is. But even this so-called explanation only covers the period of Christ’s mortal life; those who teach it admit that the Son of God could make no mistakes after He rose from the dead to glorious immortality.
And consequently it is a waste of words for them to argue that Jesus could hold wrong notions while He was still a mortal man. Because Jesus held exactly the same views after His resurrection as before it.
The resurrected Jesus, who could say, “All power is given unto Me, in heaven and in earth”,25 could also say:
“O fools, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself - ..All things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Me.”26
“Fools,” the resurrected Jesus called them, because they did not believe all that was written in the Old Testament. Fools! You can’t help feeling sorry for those poor disciples. It must have been a very humiliating experience, being called fools by the Son of God.
Claims of the Old Testament 圣经旧约的声明
It is easy to see why Jesus regarded the Old Testament in the way He did. He took it at its face value. Time after time the Old Testament claims to be an authoritative message from God to men.
Jesus accepted that claim. Commonsense says that one can either accept the claim, or reject it altogether. There is no sensible middle course.
According to one writer,27 the Old Testament makes this claim in 3,808 places-an average of about four per page. Even if this is an overestimate the number must run into thousands.
The prophets are particularly rich in such claims. For example, Haggai says, “Came the word of the Lord by Haggai” in his first verse, and again in his third verse, while in the second verse he says, “Thus speaketh the Lord”. Haggai uses expressions like this more than twenty times, in a book that occupies only two pages in the average Bible.
Even the legal code given to the nation of Israel (the Law of Moses) is spattered with phrases like “Moses wrote all the words of the Lord”, and “The Lord spake unto Moses”.28 Similar phrases are less common in the historical books, but they still occur many times. For example:
“The Lord spake unto Joshua”,29 “Thus said the Lord”,30 “The Lord revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord”.31
The writers of the Old Testament books not only tell us that God spoke to them, or through them. Sometimes they go into more detail, and give us a glimpse of what it was like to be the mouthpiece of God.
旧约圣经的书写者不仅仅告诉我们是 神向他们讲话，或者通过他们说话。有的时候他们告诉我们更多的细节，让我们知道 神的代言人的一些细节：
David: “The spirit of the Lord spake by me, and His word was in my tongue.”32
Isaiah: “He laid it (a burning coal from a heavenly altar) upon my mouth, and said, ‘Lo, this hath touched thy lips, and thine iniquity is taken away and thy sin purged.’ Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then said I, ‘Here am I, send me.’ And He said, ‘Go, and tell this people ...’”33
Jeremiah: “Then said I, ‘Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a child.’ But the Lord said unto me, ‘Say not, “I am a child”, for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.’ . . Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said unto me, ‘Behold, I have put My words in thy mouth’... (much later) Then I said, ‘I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His name.’ But His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not contain.”34
As you might expect, the apostles of Jesus took exactly the same line about the Old Testament as their Master. They supported it right up to the hilt. Here are five examples:
“Lord, Thou art God... who by the mouth of Thy servant David hast said . .”35
“The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet. . 36
“In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets.”37
“So worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the prophets.”38
“I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come.”39
Notice what is implied in those first three quotations. (1) What David (who wrote many of the Psalms) said, God said. (2) What is written in the Book of Isaiah is what God’s Holy Spirit said. (3) The words of the prophets were really spoken by God.
No wonder that in the last two quotations Paul said he believed all that was in the Old Testament, and preached nothing else!
请注意上面前面3个引文中所暗示的：（1）大卫（诗篇中有很多是他写的）所写的是 神的话。（2）以赛亚书所记载的话是神的灵所启示的。（3）先知们所说的话真的是 神的话。
Claims of the New Testament 新约圣经的声明
Of course, there are two possibilities about these claims made in the Bible. They may be true, or they may be false. Later on we shall have to try and decide which. For the present, however, let us leave it as an open question. It will be sufficient in this chapter to concentrate on trying to understand just what those claims are. According to the writers of the New Testament, God spoke through them, too. John says that Jesus promised to use His apostles in that way:
“Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth…”40
“The Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance) whatsoever I have said unto you.”41
So Matthew, Mark, Luke and John would not have to rely on a hazy recollection of what Jesus had said. When they wrote their four gospels the Holy Spirit would cause them to recall the exact teaching of the Master. Or so, at least, John’s gospel said.
Peter and Paul also claimed repeatedly that they were being moved to preach and write God’s words. Here are two examples from each:使徒彼得和保罗也多次声明他们是被感动写下了 神的话。以下就是几个例子:
Peter: “Those [the apostles] who preached the good news to you
through the Holy Spirit sent from heaven.”42
“Be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy
prophets [the Old Testament], and the commandment of the Lord P
and Saviour through your apostles [the New Testament].”43
Paul: “When ye received the Word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the Word of God.”44
“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ.”45
Evidently the apostles believed that they were being used by God just like His prophets of old. First, God’s prophets were moved by God’s Spirit to speak His words. Then the Spirit caused them to write down God’s words, and thus create the Old Testament. Similarly the apostles were first caused by God’s Spirit to preach His words. Later, the Spirit made them write God’s words, and so produce the New Testament. Or so the apostles claimed.
这些证据表明，使徒们相信他们是被 神使用，就像 神通过旧约中的先知讲话一样。第一， 神的先知被圣灵所感动，接下来，圣灵驱使他们写下 神的话。这就是圣经旧约的来源。同样，使徒们首先是被圣灵感动去传福音。其次，圣灵感动他们，让他们写下了 神的话语，因此就有了新约圣经。这也是使徒们所申明的。
Most people would agree that if there is a God, He must be able to do things on earth invisibly. As Cowper’s well-known hymn puts it:
“God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform.”
The Bible has a name for the invisible work of God on earth. It calls it the doings of “the Spirit of God”, or “the Holy Spirit”, or for short, just “the Spirit”.
对于这些我们看不见的 神的工作，圣经称之为“ 神的灵”，或者是“圣灵”，有的时候简称为“灵”。
This is a good name for it, because it is the translation of Hebrew and Greek words meaning “wind”. In this age of weather forecasts we understand what the wind is. But in the ancient world wind was something strange, mysterious, powerful. It made men think of the invisible power of God working on earth.
It is fitting, therefore, that most of God’s great miracles were said to be performed by His Spirit. So was the giving of His Word-which was, of course, a kind of miracle. When men spoke-or wrote-the Word of God, it was the Spirit that moved them. Again and again in the Old Testament it says that the Spirit of the Lord came upon so-and-so, and he prophesied.
这种称呼是非常恰当的。 神所作的大部分的奇迹都是通过圣灵来做的，圣灵的启示也是一种奇迹。当有人说出或者是写下 神的话时，是圣灵感动他们。圣经的旧约多次说过，神的灵在某位先知的身上，这位先知就写下 神的话来。
When the Old Testament was practically complete, a thousand years or so after Moses had begun it, another prophet, Nehemiah, summed up the situation:
“Thou [God] gavest also Thy good Spirit to instruct them [Israel] . . Many years didst Thou forbear them, and testified against them by Thy Spirit in Thy prophets... But we have done wickedly, neither have our kings, our princes, our priests or our fathers kept Thy Law.”46
As the apostle Peter put it, several hundred years later still: 在几百年以后，使徒彼得说：
“No prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man) but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”47
In the same way, according to the verses quoted earlier in this chapter, the New Testament also was written by men who were moved by the Holy Spirit. As Jesus told them before they began, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses.”48
The Bible uses a special word to describe this work of the Holy Spirit. The word is inspiration. Paul used it in this way: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.”49
Inspiration. It is not a bad description, because it makes you think of “in-spiriting”, of putting God’s Spirit into a man chosen to convey God’s words to the world. And yet it is not a particularly good word, because it does not really convey Paul’s meaning.
“感动”这个词是一个褒义词， 神的灵进入 神所选择的一个人，将 神的话语向世界 。然而这个词并没有完全表达保罗的意思。
The whole phrase, “given by inspiration of God”, is actually a translation of one long Greek word. That word means “Godspirited” or “Godbreathed”. (Remember that, in Greek, the word for “spirit” also means both “wind” and “breath”.)
“神所默示的”这个词（given by inspiration of God），实际上是从一个很长的希腊文单词翻译过来的。这个词的意思是“Godspirited”，或“Godbreathed”，意识是 神的灵示，或 神说呼出的气。（在希腊文中，“灵”与“”是同一个词。）
So although it is less elegant it is more accurate to translate Paul’s words like this: “All scripture is breathed out by God.”
In other words, the Bible is expired by God rather than inspired. In a figurative sense it came out of God’s mouth, just as our breath comes out of our mouths.
换句话说，圣经是神说的，圣经是从 神的口中出来的，就像气息从 神的口中出来的一样，而不仅仅是 神所启示的。
About a thousand years earlier a Jewish hymnwriter had made a similar point. He wrote in the book of Psalms:
“By the word of the Lord
Were the heavens made
And all the host of them
By the breath of His mouth.”50
He was referring to the first chapter of Genesis, where God created the heavens and the earth. The words, “And God said, ‘Let there be ...’“ keep recurring in that chapter like a refrain. The words of God were spoken; the deeds of God were done.
在这里他谈论的同创世记第一章有关，是 神创造天地的故事。“神说…..事就这样成了”， 神的话就是 神的行为。
Every Word Counts每一个字都算数
All this adds up to a vital conclusion. If the Bible’s repeated claim is justified-if there really is a sense in which the Bible is “breathed out of God’s mouth”-it must mean that the very words of the Bible come from God, not just the ideas.
这些附加的非常重要的结论。如果圣经中的多次声明是正确的，圣经就是“ 神口中所出来的话，”这就意味着圣经中的每一个字都来自 神，不仅仅是其中的观点。
At first this sounds a staggering claim. And yet the more you think about it, the more it makes sense. In an unimportant piece of writing-say, a magazine article, or a novel-it doesn’t matter much what words are used, so long as the general sense is what the author intended.
But in an important document, like an Act of Parliament, or a man’s will, the words are terribly important. A wealthy old man once wrote a very short and simple will: “I leave all my money to my nephew Percy.”
Poor Percy. He only got a few pounds. It was quite clear what Uncle meant. But Uncle had not said what he meant. “Money,” said the lawyers, means pound notes and coins of the realm. Uncle’s fortune was in the form of bank deposits, stocks and shares-and that’s not “money”. The real wealth went to Uncle’s next of kin, while all Percy received was the contents of Uncle’s trouser pockets.
We might expect that if the Bible really is what it claims to be-the most important document in the world-the words it uses are tremendously important. And this is exactly what it claims. No Bible writer ever says, “God gave me a message in vague terms, and left me to write it down in my own words.”
On the contrary, many of them emphasise the precise nature of the message God gave them. For example: 相反，他们中间有很多人强调神给与他们的信息是非常明确的，例如：
David: “Ml this the Lord made me understand in writing by His hand upon me.”51
Jeremiah: “Thus saith the Lord . . . speak unto all the cities of ....... all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; keep not back a word . . . Take thee a roll of a book and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee.”52
Jesus: “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.”53
Paul: “And we impart this in words... taught by the Spirit.”54
John: “If any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life.”55
Needless to say, these statements do not apply to the words of the Bible in English. The dear old lady who said, “If the Authorised Version was good enough for St Paul, it’s good enough for me!” has been dead a long time. The men who wrote the original books of the Bible were said to be inspired by God, not the men who afterwards copied those books and translated them into other languages. (Just how accurate were those copyists and translators? We shall look at that question in Chapter 17.)
不用说，这些声明不适合英语（或者是汉语）圣经的每一个词。有一位可敬的老太太说：“如果圣经英语钦定版对于圣保罗已经够好，那么对于我来说也是足够好。”写圣经原文的人受到了 神的启示，并没有说后来抄写圣经、翻译圣经的人也受到了 神的启示。至于圣经抄写和翻译的准确程度，我们将在第17章讨论。
Writers -Not Typewriters圣经的书写者不是打字员
There is something almost uncanny about the sight of a big electronic computer working. The heart of the computer is so delicate that it has to be boxed away in an air-conditioned chamber, like a premature baby in an incubator. Wires connect the delicate central part to other machines, through which the operators feed in the problems for solution. Other wires connect the computer to an electric typewriter, which types out the answers.
It is a strange sight to see one of these typewriters typing away at breakneck speed, as if some invisible typist were using it. Those sheets of typed paper are being dictated by the electronic machine in its glass case, and once the machine is set to work on a problem no human being has any control over that typewriter.
Now this is not-repeat, NOT-the way to think of God inspiring the Bible. The writers of the Bible were not just human typewriters, setting down automatically the words that God dictated to them. They were individuals with a style of their own, each writing his inspired message in his own particular way.
我在这里重复一下，这种方式不是 神启示人们书写圣经的方式。圣经的众多书写者并不仅仅像电脑打字员一样，自动地将 神的话写出来，他们都是有自己的特点的人，每一位在书写 神启示的信息的时候，都用自己的方式写出来。
At first, this statement may seem to contradict all that has gone before. If God did not dictate His words to the writers of the Bible, but gave them freedom to write in their own style, how could their writings possibly turn out to be the exact words of God?
这份声明看起来似乎与刚才的申明相矛盾。如果 神没有见自己的话交付给圣经的书写者，而是给他们用自己的方式书写的自由，那么他们所写下的怎样才能够证明确实是 神的话？
This problem is not nearly so difficult as it seems. Try looking at it this way. A crack shot with a rifle can still hit the target when a strong wind is blowing. His skill enables him to estimate the force and direction of the wind, and then allow for it when he points his gun. If the wind is blowing strongly from the left, he aims to the left of the target. He knows that his bullet will follow a curved path, and end up on target. But if there is no wind he aims directly at the target, and expects his bullet to travel by a shorter path to it.
In other words, the wind has no effect on the final result. A brilliant marksman’s bullet will always end up where he wants it. What the wind does is to decide the path by which the bullet will get there.
It is rather like that, only much more complicated, with the workings of God. He knows exactly what end result He wants to achieve, and with infinite skill He is able to achieve it. He can allow for the effects of human free will-or of the literary style of individuals-as easily as a marksman can allow for the wind.
When He wanted a book written in the characteristic style of Jeremiah, He raised up exactly the right man to write it. He told Jeremiah that He began shaping him for his work as a prophet even before he was born.56 When the time came for Jeremiah’s great work to begin, he was exactly the right man for it. Even his nervousness and humility helped to fit him for the job.57
The resulting book was therefore truly Jeremiah’s book. No other man, perhaps, could have written it in quite the same way. But because God had made Jeremiah what he was, and then caused him to write what he did, Jeremiah’s book was filled with the very words of God. The same applies to all the other books of the Bible.
结果耶利米这本书就真的出现了。没有其他人能够用同样的方式写出这一本书来。但是因为 神创造了耶利米这个人，让他写下这本书，于是耶利米书就充满了 神的话，同样的道理适合于圣经的每一本书。
What This Chapter Has Proved 这一章所证明的事情
This subject of the Bible’s claim to be “Godbreathed” (inspired) is a very big one. It really needs a book to itself. In just one chapter I have only been able to outline it. If you wish to examine it in depth, you will need to read one of the standard works on the subject.
The finest book ever written on this topic is probably that by Gaussen.58 More recent books by Warfield,59 Young60 and Pache61 are also useful. 可能有关这个课题出现的最好的书是Gaussen所写的，最近Warfield, Young 和Pache写的一些书同样会有帮助。
Like this chapter, none of these books proves that the Bible is inspired by God. It is always wrong to reason in a circle; we must beware of making that mistake here.
I have not tried to argue that because the Bible makes certain claims, those claims must be true. What I have tried to show is that the Bible’s claims are so emphatic, so clear cut, that they must be either true or false.
The Bible writers all say with one accord:
“What we have written are not our own words. God miraculously took control of us, and caused us to write His words. Consequently, everything we have written has the authority of the Almighty behind it. Everything we have written is true.”
“我们所写的并不是我们自己所要说的话。而是 神奇迹般地控制了我们，使我们写下这些话。结果，我们所写的每个字的后面都有全能的 神在后面。我们所写的每一个字都是真的。”
It stands to reason that there are only two possibilities. Either the Bible’s astonishing claim is true-or the book is the biggest confidence trick in all history!
But as we saw at the beginning of this chapter, many leaders of religion refuse to accept that these are the only alternatives. They adopt a third point of view. They say that the Bible is sort-of-true and sort-of-false.
Of course, they don’t put it like that. They express their views in language that is almost impossible for the man in the street to understand. But that is what it comes down to. Unlike the prophets, unlike Jesus Christ, unlike the apostles, these Biblical scholars believe in a Bible that is neither true nor false, but something in between.
There are many of them and their views are widely known. So we cannot ignore them. The next chapter will take a look at their position and see where it leads us.
Falling Between Two Stools
Charles is a typical middle-aged Englishman. Most people like him, because he’s a friendly sort of chap. Good hearted, good living and public spirited, too.
He stood for the local council last year, but failed to get in. He never goes to church, but he would be hurt if you suggested he was not a Christian. He believes in keeping the Ten Commandments (or at least, as many as he can remember), and in being kind to other people.
Of course, he doesn’t believe in the Bible, except for a few bits that he approves of. Like most people, he follows the fashion and assumes that the Bible has been shot full of holes by scientists and other experts. And anyway, he says he can live a perfectly good life without the Bible, thank you.
Yet Charles has suddenly become a worried man. His tranquil life has recently taken a very nasty knock. He has two teenage sons who are worrying him stiff. They stoop to every kind of petty dishonesty they can get away with, and the way they behave with girls makes Charles’ hair go grey.
The worst of it is that Charles feels so powerless. Whenever he says anything, he comes up against a stone wall. “But why not, Dad? We’re not hurting anybody. Why shouldn’t we do what we like?”
Poor Charles has no answer for them. If he says, “Because I say so!” they merely retort, “And who do you think you are?”
He knows how his father made him toe the line, forty years ago. The old man simply said, “Charles, pack this up! It’s wrong. The Bible says so.” In those days Charles knew that to his father the Bible was authoritative. So Charles did as he was told.
But Charles cannot talk to his own sons like that. They know he doesn’t accept the authority of the Bible. Charles believes in keeping the Commandments, and it upsets him to see his sons breaking them. But he doesn’t know why he keeps them. So how can he hope to persuade his sons to keep them?
Charles is not alone in this. There are hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of fathers in the same uncomfortable position.
The fact is that there always was only one good reason for keeping the Commandments. They are introduced by the statement: “And God spake all these words, saying...”1
And they are immediately followed by a passage that says:
“And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking... And the Lord said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.”2
That is why a hundred generations of God-fearing Jews have respected the Ten Commandments. They believed that the whole book of Exodus was true. They believed that God really did appear on Mount Sinai and thunder out those commandments to their ancestors.
Jesus Christ endorsed that belief. Several books of the New Testament refer directly to it as a historical fact.3 That is why many generations of Bible-believing Christians like Charles’ father have had a profound respect for the Commandments.
Thin End of the Wedge 从小看大
There is a big lesson to be learnt from this.
If you believe that God led Israel to Mount Sinai by a succession of mighty miracles, and there gave them His Law, the Commandments will have supreme authority. They will be a power in your life. They cannot be anything else, if you really believe they came down from heaven.
But suppose you listen to the wrong kind of expert. Suppose you lap up the misguided philosophy that says: “Miracles are impossible. Much of the book of Exodus is fiction. The Commandments were made up by a group of pious men, not thundered out from heaven.”
Then what? All the power and authority is gone. “Keep the Commandments if you want to; break them if you don’t. If God didn’t give the Commandments He won’t punish you for breaking them.” This is the inevitable reaction.
然后呢？这些命令全部的力量和权威都会消失：“你想遵守就遵守，你不想遵守就可以不遵守。如果这些命令不是 神颁布的，你不遵守 神也不会惩罚你。”这是必然的反应。
Where moral standards are concerned there is no permanent halfway house. The whole Bible stands or falls together, and moral standards stand or fall with it. If it is what it claims to be, inspired by God and authoritative from beginning to end, then it demands our obedience. But if not, there is no real reason why we should not do what we like.
More and more people are realising this now. That is why more and more people are casting off all restraint. We ought not to be surprised by the rocketing statistics of crime, immorality, drug-addiction and violence. Far-sighted men and women saw it coming, more than a hundred years ago. They knew the thin end of a wedge when they saw it.
Until about the middle of the last century practically all Christian scholars accepted the Bible’s own claim to be the words of God. There were some scholars who attacked the Bible, but generally they made no claim to be Christian. For some time their attacks on the Bible had little effect. But soon after the middle of the nineteenth century they made a breakthrough.
Around that time there was a great leap forward in human knowledge. The foundations of modern science were being laid. The two great offshoots of science, medicine and engineering, were working wonders undreamed of a few years before. Historians and archaeologists were busy unravelling the secrets of the past.
The result of all this was a great epidemic of swollen heads in the universities of the world. Few scholars had the humility to think, “Now we are a little less ignorant than we were before.” The general reaction was, “Look how wise we are now! Within a few years we shall know practically everything worth knowing.”
Swinburne captured the spirit of the age in verse:
“Glory to Man in the highest!
For Man is the master of things.”
In this climate of opinion scholars jumped recklessly to conclusions, without waiting for proper evidence. And a large part of the general public jumped blindly after them.
Darwin’s Origin of Species was sold out on the day of publication. Before they had even read it, some people started to believe that Darwin had disproved the existence of a Creator.
Archaeologists decided that writing was not invented until after Moses was dead, and that consequently Moses could not possibly have written any part of the Bible. Historians decided that nearly all the books of the Bible were full of historical blunders, and therefore could not have been written by eye-witnesses.
We know now that all these gentlemen were, in fact, talking through the back of their learned necks. Modern scholars regard nineteenth-century scholarship as a hotchpotch of truth and error. But this realisation came too late to avert a tragedy. Very many Christian ministers of that time were taken in by the great flood of over-confident nineteenth-century scholarship. They accepted the view that the Bible was a collection of pious forgeries, written at a late date and palmed off on an ancient public as the works of famous men.
By the turn of the century this view was held by the majority of Christian scholars. By then it was being taught in many theological colleges as if it were the unquestionable truth. And, of course, the young students at those colleges lapped it up without question. (They had to, if they wanted to pass their exams.) The fact that a very different viewpoint was still being taught at other colleges was quietly overlooked.
From Bad to Worse越来越糟
It took a little time before it dawned on the average man what these views meant. If the Book of Isaiah did not even contain the words of Isaiah, you could hardly expect it to contain the words of God. If the four gospels were not written until long after Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were dead, you could not rely on what they said about Jesus. Some of it might be true, some untrue. Each man was free to choose how much he would believe.
It was obvious where this would lead. Gradually men would choose to believe less and less of the Bible, until finally they believed nothing at all.
What was a little more unexpected was the way religious leaders gradually became more and more extreme in their statements. At first they expressed their views moderately. In the nineteen thirties Archbishop Temple wrote:
“There is no single deed or saying of His [Christ’s] of which we can be perfectly sure that He said or did precisely this or that.”4
Though this makes sad reading, at least the language is restrained. It contrasts strikingly with a more recent statement by another religious leader. In ig6~ Dr. Leslie Weatherhead, one-time President of the Methodist Conference, was reported as saying that he would like to go through the Bible with a blue pencil and blot out various portions. He called the Old Testament out of date and completely outmoded. He described many of the Psalms as nonsense.5
尽管这种观点是错误的，但至少其措辞是有约束的。最近某位宗教领导人发表的言论与之形成了鲜明的对照。 Leslie Weatherhead博士曾经担任过卫理公会的主席，有报道说，他说要用蓝色铅笔将圣经的很多部分去掉。他称圣经旧约已经过时，他称很多诗篇是无稽之谈。
The end of the road was reached in 1966, when the following letter appeared in a leading British newspaper.6
I do not believe in the existence of God; I believe that love, or ‘agape’, as exemplified in the life of Jesus, is the key to human relationships.
(Methodist Minister) 卫理公会传教士
John Smith 约翰-史密斯
What a sad confession. The “Reverend” John Smith (the name has been altered) admits he does not believe in God.
At least you have to admire his courage. In the same newspaper a week before, a well known unbeliever, John Gilmour, had thrown Out a challenge. He declared that many leaders of the Church no longer believed in God. All they had, he said, was a general belief in Christian love as the key to human relationships. He dared them to come clean, and admit it. This Methodist minister accepted the challenge and owned up.
但是你至少得佩服他的勇气。一个星期以前，同样是在这份报纸上，著名的无神论者John Gilmour向圣经信仰者发出挑战。他声称很多教会领导人并不信仰 神。他们只是泛泛的相信，例如认为基督徒的爱是人类维持正常关系的关键。他鼓励这些人勇敢地站出来承认。卫理公会的这位牧师接受了挑战，公开承认这一点。
And why not? He has only gone one short step further than many of his colleagues. The existence of God was just about the only Bible teaching left that had not been denied by some minister of religion.
The Unhappy Medium令人不愉快的媒体
Of course, not all those Biblical scholars who reject the Bible’s claims go to such wild extremes. There are still many who take a more moderate position. Between them they hold many different shades of opinion. Some think the Bible contains a lot of truth and only a little error; some think it is the other way round. It would be impossible in a single chapter to do justice to all their views.
But their most common approach to the Bible can be expressed quite simply. They say that the Bible is “reliable in matters of religion, but unreliable in historical matters”.
What does that mean? Simply this. That when John wrote that Jesus said, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another”7-and suchlike thing-we can accept them as true. But that when we read how the baby Moses’ life was saved because his mother hid him in the bulrushes,8 we are at liberty to say, “A likely story!”
If we hold these views, we shall believe that this story about Moses
-and hundreds of other Bible stories-are fiction, not fact. We shall say, “What does it matter, anyway, whether these things happened or not? We can learn useful lessons from these stories, just as we can from the parables of Jesus. Nobody regards His parables as true stories.”
Several things are very wrong with this approach. First of all, Jesus presented his parables as parables. Many of them are introduced by the words, “He spake a parable unto them.” Every one of them is worded in what you might call “a parable style”.
If the parable of the Good Samaritan had begun, “Last week Simon Peter’s cousin was going down from Jerusalem .. .” we should have known that Jesus was telling a true story. But it didn’t. It began, “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho . .”9 Everyone knew at once that this was a parable.
Now when Jesus and the apostles referred to Old Testament history, they never spoke about it in “parable style”. They always treated it as accurate history. True, they did draw lessons from it, but they made it plain that these were lessons drawn from real life. When Paul based some lessons on a series of episodes from the history of Israel,
“These things happened unto them by way of example, and they were written for our admonition.”10
These things happened. Actually happened. Could words be plainer than that?
As for Jesus, He spoke of many incidents in the Old Testament, including:
The story of Adam and Eve11
The murder of Abel by Cain12
Noah and the flood13
The destruction of Sodom and the death of Lot’s wife14
Moses and the burning bush15
The manna that fell from heaven16
Solomon and the Queen of Sheba17
Elijah and a miracle18
Elisha and another miracle19
Jonah and the whale20
Turn up these passages in your own Bible. See for yourself how Jesus obviously believed that all these events really did occur.
There is another big snag about saying the Bible is “religiously true but historically unreliable”. The historical and religious strands of the Bible are intertwined like the threads in a Persian carpet. How are we going to separate them? In fact, no two scholars seem to agree on which bits are “historical” and which are “religious”.
Take the story that Jesus rose from the dead. We meet it in all four gospels, in the books of Acts and Revelation, and in several of the epistles. It is presented to us in these books as a historical fact. For this reason many scholars feel free to reject it as a myth.
But it is more than a historical fact. It is also presented to us as a foundation stone of the Christian religion. Listen to the apostle Paul:
“How say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen, and if Christ be not risen then is our preaching vain and your faith is also vain.... If Christ be not raised your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins!”21
Then there is the problem that if Christ really was wrong in His teaching about the Old Testament, how can we be sure of anything else He taught? He backed up His claim to be the Son of God with a quotation from the Psalms, saying as He did so, “And the Scripture cannot be broken!”22 If He was wrong about Scripture, how do we know that He was not wrong about being Son of God?
如果耶稣关于旧约的教导存在错误的话，我们对于耶稣的其它教导如何有把握？耶稣声明自己是 神的儿子，诗篇早就有预言，他自己引用了这些经文并且说：“经上的话是不能废的；”(约翰福音10：35，36)。如果他对待圣经经文的态度存在错误的话，我们怎么才知道他声明是 神的儿子没有错误？
He said that resurrection and eternal life could be relied upon because of what the book of Exodus said.23 If He was wrong about the book of Exodus, how do we know that He was not wrong about eternal life?
Lots of Bible-believing theologians have asked this kind of question.24 But so far as I know, nobody has ever given them a reasonable answer.
It is not surprising there has been a steady drift away from this “half and half” position. The drift has mainly been in the direction of complete unbelief, but quite a number of scholars have moved in the opposite direction towards complete belief. There may be some difficulties connected with wholehearted belief. But there are far greater problems facing those who try to believe only parts of the Bible. There is an increasing awareness of this fact among thinking Christians today.
cleverness and Commonsense 聪明与常识
Everybody has heard of absent-minded professors. But in fact there can’t be very many of them about. Quite a few of my friends are professors, and none of them is what I would call absent-minded. They are all men of very keen intellect.
Yet there is a certain element of truth underlying the legend of the absent-minded professor. Brilliant men are often lacking in plain common sense. Many an uneducated wife has said to a husband with twenty letters after his name, “But even I wouldn’t do a silly thing like that, darling!”
So it behoves us to remember that in everyday matters, very learned men often do silly things. And the Bible tells us that in religious matters also they often do silly things. The apostle Paul was a man of tremendous intellect; this is very obvious to anyone who studies his writings. But he had the humility to admit that cleverness can easily become more of a liability than an asset to a would-be Christian.
The highest social class in Israel consisted of the highly educated religious leaders. Paul belonged to that class. But he was no snob. He became ashamed of his own class, and left it to become a Christian, when he realised that this intellectual elite had crucified the Son of God.
So he warned his own age-and our age, too-not to be overawed by the learning of the learned:，
“Where is your wise man now, your man of learning, or your subtle debater-limited, all of them, to this passing age? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. As God in His wisdom ordained, the world failed to find Him by its wisdom . . . Divine folly is wiser than the wisdom of man, and divine weakness stronger than man’s strength. My brothers, think what sort of people you are, whom God has called. Few of you are men of wisdom, by any human standard; few are powerful or highly born. Yet, to shame the wise, God has chosen what the world counts folly, and to shame what is strong, God has chosen what the world counts weakness.
. . And so there is no place for human pride in the presence of God.”25
Jesus said much the same, but more briefly:
“At that moment Jesus exulted in the Holy Spirit, and said, ‘I thank Thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for hiding these things from the learned and wise, and revealing them to the simple. Yes, Father, such was Thy choice.”26
In view of these warnings it should carry very little weight that the majority of Christian scholars view the Bible as a mixture of truth and error. They do not form an overwhelming majority, although they sometimes try to give that impression. Nevertheless they are a large majority. But what of that? A large majority of the leading Biblical scholars in Israel voted to reject Christ.
If we had lived in the first century and had chosen to follow the great bulk of scholars, we should have joined the mob and shouted, “Crucify Him!” Christians who choose to take the majority path today are in danger of making a similar tragic mistake. “Tear up the Bible!” is the modern counterpart of “Crucify Him!”
Why They Do It 他们为什么这样做？
It would be interesting to know why so many Biblical scholars take the line they do. There must be many reasons. The desire to conform, the fear of seeming ridiculous, too much uncritical respect for what “the experts” say, an exaggerated view of the difficulties of accepting the Bible wholeheartedly, a failure to appreciate the limitations of subjects outside their own sphere (such as history and science)-all these must play their part.
But there is a more important reason than any of these. So much depends upon the attitude a scholar has towards the object of his studies.
Dr. Jane Goodall, while still in her twenties, came to know more about chimpanzees than anyone else in the world. Her brilliant re. search work is one of the great scientific success stories of the 1960s. She succeeded where others had failed because she adopted an entirely new attitude.
Previous research workers had brought chimpanzees into their laboratories and studied them from every conceivable point of view. They taught them tricks and observed how they solved puzzles. They studied the effect of drugs and surgical operations upon them. They killed them, cut them up into little bits, and looked at the pieces under the microscope. And still they had a poor understanding of chimpanzee behaviour, and quite a few wrong notions about them.
Then Dr. Goodall tried a different approach. She went into the heart of the African bush and camped Out for several years among a colony of chimpanzees. After a while they accepted her almost like one of themselves. For the first time a scientist was able to observe chimpanzees behaving absolutely naturally. She was able to see things from a chimp’s point of view.
She came home at last and published her findings. The title of her report is revealing: My Friends the Chimps.27 Instead of standing detached from the objects of her studies, looking down upon them with a superior air, she came down to their level. She met them on their own terms. Hence her remarkable success.
Similarly, there were two very different ways of approaching Jesus of Nazareth. On one occasion, what we should call a commission of enquiry came to watch Him at work. Its members were eminent scholars, drawn from all over the country.28 They studied Him critically for a while, no doubt conscious of their own scholarship and full of confidence in their ability to judge Him. Then they announced their decision. “Who is this which speaketh blasphemies?”29
The other way was the way of Mary of Bethany. She “sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.”30 Where the committee of scholars had looked down on Him, she looked up at Him. From their different viewpoints they beheld the same man. But the scholars saw a “blasphemer”; the humble woman saw the Son of God.
另外一条方法就像伯大尼的马利亚那样，“在耶稣脚前坐著听他的道”。（路加福音10：39） 他们从不同的角度来看同样一个人。学者们看到的是“亵渎者”，谦卑的马利亚却看到的是 神的儿子。
There are the same two alternative ways of approaching the Bible. Some scholars-all too many of them-look down at the Bible with a cool, detached air. A “scientific” attitude they like to call it, just as the biologists who studied chimpanzees in cages thought their methods were the height of good science. They dissect the Bible into little bits, and examine each bit under the microscope of their specialist knowledge.
But there are other men, just as scholarly, as well as a whole host of ordinary folk, who look up at the Bible instead of down at it. They follow the Jane Goodall technique, by studying the Bible on its own terms. Because she was a friend to the chimps, she quickly became the world’s foremost chimpanzee scholar.
但是另外一些人，其中有学者，也有普通人，他们仰视圣经，而不是是居高临下地看待圣经，他们也采取了Jane Goodall的办法，按照圣经的方式研究圣经。Jane Goodall成为猩猩的朋友以后，很快就成为世界最好的猩猩研究学者。
Similarly, the wisest Bible scholars-those whose conclusions are most likely to be right-are those who can speak of “my friend, the Bible.” They follow the example of Mary, who sat at the feet of Jesus to hear Him. They sit down before the Bible to learn from it, not just to learn about it.
Think how different things might be if all scholars had possessed the spirit of Dr. Goodall and of Mary of Bethany. It would have made them no less scholarly, no less scientific. But it would have made them far more humble and far more balanced. It would have preserved their common sense. And thus this strange, incredible idea of a “true-false” Word of God would never have come to undermine the foundations of the Christian faith.
如果学者都有Goodall博士和马利亚的精神，今天的情景就会有很大的不同。可能没有这么多的学派，这么多的学科 ，但是他们的态度就会有更多的谦卑，看待问题没有那么多的偏见，他们也更加具有常识性。圣经是不是 神的话本身就是一个奇怪的、不可思议的问题，如果今天所有的学者都有Goodall博士和马利亚的态度，这个破坏基督教信仰根基的问题绝不会出现。
When were the Books Written?
Just when were the sixty-six books of the Bible written?
This is an absolutely crucial question. If the Bible is what it claims to be, its sixty-six books must have been written by the men named as their authors. The authors of a few books are not stated, but the Bible tells us who wrote all the others. And they cannot have been written by those men unless they were written in their lifetimes.
Well, were they or weren’t they written at the right time?
The short answer is that scholars differ in their opinions. About the books of the Old Testament they differ very much indeed. About the books of the New Testament there is very much less difference of opinion.
Let me warn you of a common fallacy. Some people seem to think that with all this difference of opinion about the Old Testament, the situation is well nigh hopeless. How can the ordinary Bible-believer ever hope to establish the genuineness of the Old Testament books, if even the scholars do not really know the facts?
Don’t worry. There is no need to look at it like that. Every time you receive a letter in an unknown handwriting, do you say, “Perhaps this letter is a forgery”? Of course not. You assume that a letter is genuine unless there is some reason to think otherwise-just as, in English law, a man is deemed innocent until he is proved guilty.
It is not up to you to prove that each letter you receive is genuine, not even if a friend asks you to do so. If he says that a certain letter is a forgery, it is up to him to prove it a forgery. Unless he provides convincing proof of this, you are entitled to go on assuming the letter’s genuineness.
The Bible-believer is in a similar position. He has many good reasons for thinking that the Old Testament is part of the Word of God. (Some of these reasons were given in Part One of this book.) With evidence like that before him, there is no need for him to prove that each book was written at the right time, by the right author. He is fully entitled to assume that they were.
Keep that fact always in mind as you go through this chapter. The Bible-believer is the man in the position of strength. There is no need to ask, “Can we prove that the Old Testament books were written by the men whose names they bear?”
The only legitimate question is this: “Can those who criticise the Bible prove that its books were not written by the men named as their authors?”
That is the question at issue. Now let us look for an answer.
The Attack on the Old Testament有关对旧约的攻击
The great scholarly attack on the Old Testament was mounted just over a hundred years ago. But it did not spring into existence overnight. Many of the arguments used were first put forward in the eighteenth century, or even earlier. It was only in the middle of the nineteenth century that those arguments began to lead to a great popular movement.
This movement was associated with a literary technique known as “higher criticism”. This was a perfectly legitimate form of study which had been in use for a long time. It was devoted to studying the sources used by the authors of ancient books-not just Biblical books but any ancient books.
Unfortunately, in the days of the great attack on the Bible, higher criticism was used in a most unbalanced way. Many higher critics chose to ignore what Jesus taught about the Bible, and to let their imaginations run riot. Fierce controversies took place, with both sides sometimes expressing themselves in a less-than-Christian fashion.
These wordy battles had an unhappy sequel. The world’s Biblical scholars became divided into two camps, and the split has continued right down to the present day. Those who continued to regard the Bible as true were the smaller group. They reacted violently against the way their opponents used the methods of higher criticism to undermine people’s faith in the Bible, and they began to use the term “higher critic” as if it meant “someone who pulls the Bible to pieces.”
At the time this was not far from the truth. Even today most higher critics reject the idea that the whole Bible is true, and most Bible-believers refuse to have anything to do with higher criticism. There are a few scholars who use the methods of higher criticism in a sensible way and remain staunch Bible-believers. But for simplicity’s sake I shall disregard their existence, and use the terms “higher critic” and ‘‘critical scholar’’ to mean the general run of higher critics, who argue that the Bible is, at best, only partly true.
Most of the heat has gone Out of the controversy nowadays. Many of today’s critical scholars are much more moderate than those of the last century. But the underlying problems are still there, and so we must have a look at the critics’ point of view. We shall understand this better if we begin by considering how their ideas first developed.
A very brief summary of the nineteenth-century critical scholars’ case runs like this:
(1) Moses could not write’. Archaeologists had found evidence that writing went back to nearly 1000 B.C., but beyond that there was nothing. The idea of Moses writing a code of laws hundreds of years earlier was clearly absurd. Therefore there must be another explanation: some other person, or persons, must have written the Jewish law long after Moses was dead. 摩西时代没有文字，摩西不可能写作。考古学家曾经认为最早的文字出现在公元前1000年，除此以外世界上没有任何文字记录。一些人因此认为摩西在公元前1500年就写下律法条文的观点是荒谬的，摩西律法的作者应该有别的解释，是另外的人或者是某些人在摩西死后很多年才写的。
(2) Evidences of multiple authorship. Many of the books of the Old Testament do not read like the writings of one man. There is a fair amount of repetition, and sudden changes from one style of writing to another. Therefore it can be inferred that lots of unknown authors wrote little bits of the Old Testament books, and unknown editors welded these bits together into complete books. Eventually the Jewish public were persuaded that long-dead men, like Moses, and David, and Solomon and Isaiah, had written these recently compiled books. 多位作者的证据 旧约中的很多书阅读起来好像不会是一个人写的，有很多重复的部分，而且写作风格也存在突然变化。应该是有一些不知名的作者写完后插于进去的，然后又一位不知名的编辑将它们汇编成完整的书。最后，犹太人公众假定这些书是一位已经在很久以前就去世的人，例如大卫、所罗门以及以赛亚写的那些书。
(3) Historical errors. The Old Testament, it was thought, was riddled with historical errors. Eye-witnesses would never have made these blunders. Therefore the Bible was not a book of history written at the time things happened, but a collection of legends handed down by word of mouth for generations, and put in writing long afterwards. The people and places mentioned often did not exist, and when they did were often spelt wrongly or set in the wrong period of history. Even the words used were words from the wrong period-as if someone had tried to write a fake Shakespeare play, but had foolishly included some modern American slang.
The Turn of the Tide潮流的转变
It would be an exaggeration to say that the new wave of critical theories about the Old Testament swept all before it. There were a great many Bible-believing scholars who remained unconvinced by the new theories. Nevertheless the critical movement did have a tremendous success.
In one way this success was short-lived, in another, long-lived. In its original form it was short-lived because it had no sooner reached its peak, around the turn of the century, than some of its foundations were shown to be false.
Archaeologists who had been looking for evidence of the dawn of civilisation made an uncomfortable discovery: for many years they had been digging in the wrong place! They had concentrated their efforts in the land we now call Iraq, in the territory of ancient Assyria in the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates. This earlier work had convinced them that writing was invented less than three thousand years ago.
Then they moved down the rivers to the coastal plain. They dug up a number of cities in the area once called Babylonia, and made some startling discoveries. At Nippur, Ashur, Ur and Kish they found thousands of clay tablets covered With writing, far older than any written material previously known. Many of them were dated at about the time of Moses; some of them went back to far earlier periods, perhaps even as much as a thousand years before Moses was born.
后来他们顺着河流来到一块靠海的平原。他们挖掘了很多古巴比伦地区的一些城市，并且有惊人的发现。在Nippur, Ashur, Ur（即吾珥，亚伯拉罕的故乡）和Kish这些城市，他们发现了数千件有文字记载的泥板，比从前知道的更早。很多属于摩西时代，有一些则更早，甚至在摩西出生之前一千年。
Some of these ancient records consisted of codes of law drawn up by various kings. The earliest law code known today is probably that of the Sumerian king, Ur Nammu. He lived about four thousand years ago. A more famous law code was compiled by Hammurabi, sixth king of the first dynasty of Babylon, in about 1700 B.C.
Since Moses lived around 1300 B.C. it was clear that the early higher critics had made a fundamental blunder. Writing in general, and writing books of laws in particular, was already a very ancient art when Moses was born. So Moses certainly could have written the law that bears his name.
Not only so, but large numbers of people would have been able to read what he wrote. The earliest form of writing was “picture writing”, in which a different little diagram is used for every word. The great breakthrough in human communications - even more important than the invention of printing-was the invention of the alphabet. And this occurred long before the time of Moses.
Consequently writing was already in common use by quite ordinary people. Not only legal documents by kings have been found in these ancient cities, but personal letters, records of business deals, lists of stores held by merchants, and so forth.
There is a very interesting passage in the Revised Standard Version (a Bible translation published in 1952) of the book of Judges. It describes an event occurring about a hundred years after the time of Moses:
“Then Gideon the son of Joash returned from the battle by the ascent of Heres. And he caught a young man of Succoth and questioned him; and he wrote down for him the officials and elders of Succoth, seventy-seven men.”1
When the Revised Version (another Bible translation) was published in 1884 the translators could not bring themselves to say that the young man “wrote”. Their translation says he “described” the men in question (although they pointed out in a footnote that the Hebrew word does really mean “wrote”). Evidently the scholars of the late nineteenth century could not conceive of an ordinary prisoner of war in Gideon’s day being able to write. But in the light of modern knowledge it seems altogether possible.
Who Compiled What?谁是编辑？编辑了些什么内容？
There is no doubt that a great deal of compiling has occurred in the writing of the Bible. Authors always have made a habit of quoting earlier authors. The Bible makes no secret of this. Moses admitted that he used material from the book of The Wars of Jehovah,2 and two other authors said they borrowed from the book of Jasher.3 Other writers refer to at least eight more lost books that they used as sources of information.4 The question upon which scholars disagree is this: who did the compiling?
毫无疑问，编辑圣经的过程中经过了大量工作。一本书的书写者通常会引用另一本书的话。圣经也对此毫无隐瞒。摩西承认他的书中包括《The Wars of Jehovah》这本书的内容，还有两本书的作者说，他们引用过《book of Jasher》这本书的内容。此外还有至少8本书被引用。学者存在争议的地方在于:谁在做这些编辑工作？
When the nineteenth-century critics reached their premature conclusion that Moses could not write, they were led on a false trail. Naturally, they said, the Law of Moses must have been compiled in the days when men could write. So they produced a theory that it was produced roughly halfway between the times of Moses and Christ.
They had no hope of establishing the actual identities of their supposed authors and compilers. So they gave them fictitious labels. One imaginary gentleman was known as J, because he always called God “Jehovah”. Another was called E, because he preferred the Hebrew word Elohim for God. Then there was D; he was largely responsible for the book of Deuteronomy. P was a priest; you could tell the bits he wrote (or so they said) by his priestly leanings.
他们不可能确定这些假定的作者和编辑者，所以自己虚构了很多名字。他们猜测有一位作者是J先生，因为他总是称 神为“Jehovah”；他们称另一位为E先生，因为他喜欢用希伯莱的“Elohim”来代表 神；接下来还有一位名叫“D”先生，因为他主要负责《申命记》“Deuteronomy”的编辑工作；还有一位P先生，从他写的书可以看出它对犹太人的祭司（Priest）制度具有非常渊博的知识。
There were quite a lot of other members of the critics’ Editorial Committee. Some of them were formed by splitting up men like D into D The First, D The Second, and so on. Another view is that some of the JEDP family should be regarded as different traditions rather than as individual men. But we need not concern ourselves with the finer points of the theory. J, E, D, and P always have been the Big Four; it will simplify matters if we concentrate on them.
批判者组成的编委会还编造了很多人物。有人将D先生划分为D先生第一，D先生第二等等。还有人将作者看成是不同的年代人物，而不是单个的人。但是我们不想涉及他们理论的细节问题，在各种理论中，J, E, D,P四个大人物是一致存在的，我们讨论重点集中在他们身上可以更简单一些。
After years of arguing about who wrote which bits, the critics finally reached something like unanimity. They published an edition of the Bible which, if not intended to be the last word in Biblical scholarship, was at least supposed to be somewhere near it. So that the reader could see who was supposed to have written what, J’s contributions were printed in one colour, E’s in another, D’s in a third, and so on. Since the colours sometimes switched about from verse to verse, or even from line to line, the result looked more like a Scotsman’s kilt than a holy book.
The fact that they could issue such a book as this shows how very self-confident the early higher critics were. It never seemed to occur to them that their work was highly speculative, based on very slender evidence. Like fond parents they could see nothing wrong with their own offspring. “Critical scholars” they called themselves; but where their own work was concerned they were some of the most uncritical people on earth.
If it were not for this, they might have had a fresh look at their subject when their mammoth boob about Moses being “unable to write” was exposed. Unfortunately this did nothing to shake their self-confidence. By this time they were so sold on J, E, D, and P that they pressed on regardless, refining their ideas of which of these mythical gentlemen wrote what.
当他们认为摩西时代没有文字的的错误被揭露以后，他们应该改过自新，然而不幸的是，错误没有动摇他们的自信，他们依然我行我素，继续销售他们的J, E, D,P理论。
Meanwhile a considerable number of other men were looking at the Old Testament from another point of view. As Bible-believers they failed to see how the JEDP school could possibly be right, because that would mean that Jesus Christ had been wrong. Because of this their opponents called them biased. Perhaps they were biased, but no more so than the higher critics themselves. And they were certainly not ignoramuses. Many of them were scholars of international renown.
These Bible-believing scholars of seventy years ago published many books and papers opposing the critical theories of the day. Some of these are classics, still worthy of study today.5 They made four main points:
(1) That archaeologists were constantly making discoveries that revealed the unsoundness of many of the critics’ assumptions.考古学家的发现经常揭示了批判主义者的假设是错误的。
(2) That other theories to explain the evidence of compilation in the Old Testament could be produced; these fitted the facts just as well as the JEDP theories, and had the overwhelming advantage of not conflicting with the views of Christ and His apostles.还有很多关于旧约的理论同样符合批判主义提出的事实，而且与圣经的新约的观点没有冲突。
(3) That the critics’ arguments based upon style and vocabulary were far from watertight, especially in the light of our rapidly increasing knowledge of ancient languages.批判主义的论据建立在过去对古代的语言了解不多的基础上。而现在人们对古代语言的了解越来越多。
(4) That Old Testament history was far more reliable than the critics had thought. Every year new discoveries were coming to light that necessitated some rewriting of our history books. And frequently, where the older versions of the history books pronounced the Bible ‘wrong, the newer versions agreed that the Bible had been right after all. 圣经旧约中的历史部分要远远比批判主义者所认为的要基础牢固。几乎每一年都有新的发现，足以改写某一部分的历史。结果，旧版本的历史书认为圣经记载的历史是错误的，而新版本的历史书宣布圣经记载是正确的。
This last point, the accuracy of Bible history, is covered in Chapter 18. I shall deal briefly with the other three points here.
Why Not Moses?为什么不是摩西?
If JEDP ~ Co. did not compile the first five books of the Bible, who did?如果圣经的律法书不是J, E, D,P合作写的，那么是谁做的？
The obvious answer is, Moses. There is no proof that it wasn’t Moses. Since writing was known long before his time, there would have been plenty of existing writing for him to work with.答案很明显，是摩西写的。没有证据表明不是摩西。因为文字早在摩西时代之前很久就已经被发明，在摩西的时候就有很多文字材料可以参考。
God made some tremendously important promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the ancestors of Moses.’ According to both the Christian New Testament7 and the Jewish Talmud8 these promises implied a hope of resurrection and personal immortality for Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Since writing was in use in Abraham’s day, it seems highly likely that he and his family would have kept a record of these promises. Perhaps they kept accounts of God’s other dealings with them, too. 神向摩西的祖先亚伯拉罕、以撒和雅各做出了庄严的承诺，不管是犹太人的律法书还是基督徒的新约都承认，这些应许中包含复活和永生的盼望。既然在亚伯拉罕时代就有了文字，当然亚伯拉罕家族有可能将 神和他们打交道的故事记载下来，其中包括 神对他们的应许。
One archaeologist has suggested that there may even have been some written records dating back to the time of Adam.9 (The question of whether Adam was a real man, and if so, when he lived, is discussed in Chapter 23.) This startling suggestion may sound highly improbable, but P. J. Wiseman supplies a surprising amount of evidence for it. Don’t dismiss the idea out of hand without first reading his book.
甚至有一位考古学家认为在亚当时代就有文字。（本书的第23章将讨论亚当是否是真实的人；如果是，他生活在什么年代等问题）。这个让人吃惊的论断听起来是不可能的，但P. J. Wiseman提供了大量令人惊讶的证据，阅读这本书之前请您不要轻易地下结论排除这种可能性。
Although they may not have gone back as far as Wiseman suggests, there were undoubtedly many written documents available to Moses. If, as seems almost certain, he made use of these, this could account for all the evidences of compilation in his five books.
尽管人类掌握文字的历史可能没有P. J. Wiseman认为的那样久远，但是有确凿的证据显示在摩西时代就有很多文字资料。我们几乎可以肯定，摩西使用了这些材料来编辑摩西律法书。
For example, some people make a great song and dance about what they call “the two contradictory records of creation” in Genesis 1 and 2. This is a most misleading expression. There are two records, but they are not contradictory. They describe some of the same events, but from two very different points of view.
As Wiseman pointed out, the phrase “these are the generations of so-and-so” occurs eleven times in Genesis, and always at or near the end of the story of so-and-so. It does not mean, “these are the children of”. It means, “that was the story of”. It appears to be Moses’ way of acknowledging that the material he had just included in Genesis was taken from a written record about so-and-so. The writing, by the way, would not have been on paper, but on a baked clay tablet.
The first occurrence of “these are the generations of -. .” is unique. Here in Genesis 2, verse 4, “so-and-so” is not a person but “the heavens and the earth”. It concludes the first creation story, which gives a birds-eye view of the whole of creation. Perhaps, if I may use the expression reverently, a “God’s-eye” view would describe it better.
The second creation story runs from Genesis 2, verse 5, to the end of the chapter. It forms the first section of “the generations of Adam”, which end, with that phrase, in chapter 5, verse 1. So this second narrative is concerned with creation from Adam’s point of view. It is not concerned with the creation of the world, but only with the creation of Adam and his homeland, the Garden of Eden.
The “earth”, whose creation is referred to in verse 5, is almost certainly the land of Eden. It is a translation of the Hebrew word eretz, which can mean “earth” but is more frequently translated “land”-as in Eretz Israel, the Land of Israel. This is why there is no mention of “the heavens” in the second creation narrative. 在第5节中提到的“地”，几乎肯定是指“伊甸园”。这个词是从希伯莱文“eretz”来的，它的意思是以色列的“地”，所以在第二次的描写中没有提到创造“天”的故事。
We do not know why God chose to give these two separate, complementary stories of creation. We don’t know when He revealed them, or to whom. The internal evidence indicates that He did give them, that they were written down, and that Moses brought them together. In the present state of our knowledge we can go no further than that.
我们不知道为什么 神会选择让两个独立的、互相补充的创造世界的故事出现。我们也不知道 神什么时候、向谁显示了这些故事。一些内在的证据显示 神真的向人显示了这些事情，然后有人记录下来，摩西将这些故事汇集在一起。在目前这个阶段我们的知识还是有限的。
And what about the evidence of compilation in the later books of Moses? Here again we cannot go very far, but it is possible to make some reasonable guesses.
Writing in those days was a very laborious business. Moses was a very busy man, and he would have needed some help. In those days great men dictated to professional writers - called “amanuenses” - just as business men dictate to their secretaries today. We can almost take it for granted that Moses used secretaries, just as Paul did.
We do not know how much freedom Moses gave his secretaries. Paul evidently allowed his a certain amount of liberty, because in one of his epistles this verse appears:
“I, Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.”10
A German scholar11 has shown that ancient Greek authors generally gave their secretaries a fair amount of freedom. The author would dictate while the secretary wrote on a wax tablet; this allowed him to write very rapidly. Later, the secretary would copy his text on to papyrus (the ancient equivalent of paper), perhaps tidying up the grammar as he went. Then the original author would read his secretary’s handiwork, and correct it himself where he thought necessary. Finally he would add a farewell greeting in his own hand.12
Very tentatively, let us suppose that Moses used several secretaries. Suppose that he allowed each one a certain freedom of style. Suppose that Moses gathered all their writings together, incorporated as much of the already-existing writings as he wanted to use, and then gave the whole job a final editorial polish.
If this is what happened, it would account for all the little peculiarities that the higher critics have pointed out. Moreover, if God was supervising the whole operation and guiding all concerned by His Spirit, the result would be the inspired, infallible book that Jesus and the apostles believed it to be.
如果事情真的就这样发生了，圣经评判家所指出的事情就没有什么可以大惊小怪的了。更重要的是，如果 神通过圣灵在指导所有的工作，那么结果就是 神所启示的、可靠的，正如耶稣和使徒所相信的那样。
Guesswork, conjecture, did you say? Yes, of course it’s all conjecture. How could any theory of the composition of an ancient book be anything else? The JEDP theories are only conjecture. And it is very doubtful whether the critics’ conjectures fit the facts any better than this conjecture.
In much the same way, any compiling that has occurred in the later books of the Old Testament could be the work of the men named in the Bible as their authors.
Direct Evidence for Early Dates 早期时间的直接证据
As a research worker myself, I know what a temptation it is to turn a blind eye to uncomfortable facts. A scientist has said that the frequent tragedy of science is a beautiful theory killed by an ugly fact. Naturally, when it is my own beautiful theory that is in peril, I should not be human if I didn’t shy away from the menacing facts.
To an outside observer it rather looks as if many critical scholars are reacting like that. Having committed themselves to late dates for the Old Testament books, they now find it very hard to give due weight to the evidence for an early date.
Many of the place names in the early chapters of Genesis, for example, have never been explained by the critical scholars.13 One verse says:
“And the border of the Canaanite was from Zidon as thou goest towards Gerar unto Gaza as thou goest towards Sodom and Gomorrah.”14
Sodom and Gomorrah? According to the Bible they were wiped out in the days of Abraham. No factual record of their continued existence occurs anywhere, in the Bible or out of it. How come, then, that we have this geographical instruction based on the location of Sodom and Gomorrah? This is almost overwhelming evidence that these words were written in or before the time of Abraham, and incorporated in Genesis by Moses.
And this evidence is not alone. Genesis 14 is about Abraham. It contains a number of ancient place names used nowhere else in the Bible. None of the readers would have known where those places were. In the same way as a modern writer might say, “Petrograd (now called Leningrad)”, Genesis 14 says:
“Bela (which is Zoar)”-verses * and 8.
“Vale of Siddim (which is the Salt Sea)”-verse 3.
“En-mishpat (which is Kadesh)”-verse 7.
“Hobah (which is on the left hand of Damascus)”-verse 15.
“Vale of Shaveh (which is the King’s Dale)”-verse 17.
Which is more likely: that Abraham, or someone of his day, wrote the original account using the place names as they were then, and that Moses, compiling Genesis, added his “modern” equivalents? Or that, as the critical theories imply, some scribe a thousand years after Abraham invented all those unknown names for no apparent reason?
The critical scholars reply to these arguments by pointing Out that the opposite condition sometimes applies. That is, that some places are called in the Bible by names that were not used at the time the book concerned was said to be written. This is a poor argument. It does not weaken the force of the argument given above, and carries little weight on its own. How do we know that the names used in the Bible were not in use at an early date? Tomorrow some archaeologist may dig up evidence that they were! In any case, there is already archaeological evidence that some cities in Old Testament times had two, three and even four different names, all in use at one time.15
Higher critics have always based a lot of arguments on the nature of words. For example, some words entered the English language suddenly, at a known date. “Blitz” and “quisling”, for instance, were never used in English until 1940.
有些批判学者常常根据词汇的性质来寻找证据。例如，某些单词会非常突然地进入英语的词汇当中，例如，“Blitz”和 “quisling” 这两个单词是在1940年才进入英语词汇表。
This is fine, but there are not very many words, even in modern English, that can be dated so accurately. Trying to do this sort of thing with a language three thousand years old is a very chancy business.
Dr. R. D. Wilson was a Bible-believer. He was also a Professor of Semitic Philology. Philology means “the science of language”; Semitic means Hebrew and related languages. In short, he was a leading expert in this field. He spent a vast amount of time-probably as much as almost any critical scholar-analysing the vocabulary of the Old Testament. His findings18 “proved” the early dates for the Old Testament, just as clearly as critics had used the same methods to “prove” late dates for them.
R. D. Wilson博士是一位相信圣经的人，也是闪族语言学的教授，（研究希伯来语言以及相关语言）。他是这一方面的权威。他花费了大量的时间来研究圣经旧约使用的词汇，他的发现“证明了”这些词汇属于旧约的早期年代，而批判学者却用同样的方法“证明了”这些词汇属于晚期年代。
What this really means, of course, is that neither party had really proved anything - except, perhaps, the power of prejudice over the human mind! The real value of Dr. Wilson’s work was to show the uselessness of basing any conclusions on this sort of argument.
Up to a point you can tell a writer from his style. But only up to a point. I write scientific papers, and I write Christian tracts. It would surprise me very much if any reader ever connected one of my unsigned tracts with my scientific papers. Because I am writing in a different field, for a different readership, I deliberately employ a different style.
Authors change their styles unconsciously, as well as consciously. Sometimes their style changes as they grow older. The poems written by Wordsworth at the end of his life are in quite a different style from his earlier poems. Some of Milton’s works are in a very different style from his other writings, perhaps because of changes in his health.17
Because of this, it is surprising to find anyone drawing definite conclusions from variations in literary style. Yet this is just what higher critics tend to do. They say the Book of Deuteronomy “could not” have been written by the same author as the Book of Leviticus, because the style is different. Some of Paul’s epistles “could not” have been written by the same man as the others, because the style is different.
Recently the whole question of style has gained a new significance, because computers are now used to analyse literary style. In fact it is all a lot of fuss about nothing, because the computers are not doing anything new. They are merely being used to do a lot of tedious arithmetic. They count the average length of sentence in a book, the average length of word, the frequency with which certain words and phrases occur, and so on. Thus they enable a statistical measure of the author’s style to be obtained.
But painstaking men were doing this many years ago, long before computers were invented. All that computers do is to make the process easier, and faster. In an article on the use of computers to analyse authors’ styles, a famous scientist concluded with a very sound warning:
“No statistical analysis ever proves anything to be absolutely true. When given the necessary data, however, it can say which of the two alternatives is the more likely to be correct.”18
In other words, this sort of thing cannot establish facts. It can only estimate probabilities.
By drawing conclusions from arguments based on style, higher critics are not only disregarding this warning. They are committing a much more serious error. This is their method:
First, they assume that the Bible is not verbally inspired. They have to assume this before they can start. Nobody knows what the operation of the Holy Spirit would do to a man’s literary style, so if you want to base conclusions on an analysis of style you simply must rule out the possibility of the Spirit affecting your results.
Right. You assume “no inspiration”. You do your analysis. You find differences in style between the Letter to the Galatians and the Letter to the Ephesians. You say: “Therefore Paul didn’t write them both. But the Bible says he did. Therefore the Bible can’t be verbally inspired.”
是的。你假定“没有 神的启示”。你自己做你自己的分析。你发现了加拉太书的写作风格同以弗所书的写作风格不同。你自己下结论说：“因此这两封信不可能都是保罗写的。但是圣经说这两封信是保罗写的，因此圣经不可能是 神所启示的。”
This is merely arguing in a circle. Starting with an assumption, you end up by concluding what you had first assumed. Any scientist doing that sort of thing would soon find himself looking for another job
Surely there is only one sane approach to the question of style in the Bible. Leave it alone. It proves little in an ordinary book, and proves nothing at all in a book claiming to be inspired.
A Critic Takes a Tumble 一个批判学者翻了跟头
In the early days, higher critics spoke with boundless confidence of their methods. Instead of admitting that they were mixing a little evidence With a lot of guesswork and a sprinkling of prejudice, they made claims like this:
“Higher criticism itself is neutral; it has no bias; it is a scientific process.”19
Since those days most of them have mellowed a bit. But as recently as 1943 one of them could still write about critical theories:
“These things are not in doubt; they are not hypothetical reconstructions or tentative suggestions, but truths as assured as anything ever can be in the sphere of literary research.”20