One of the most critical questions that faces modern man is: Is the Bible really the Word of God? This is more important than the question Whose interpretation of the Bible is the legitimate interpretation? It is also more important than the question of Which church is the church of which God approves? For the lesser questions to be answered, we must first have an answer to the most important one: Is the Bible really the Word of God?
How shall we decide this? What kind of criteria should we apply to the question in order to decide whether God stands behind and supports the words of the Bible? In the past, many men have used the miraculous in order to argue for the validity of the approval of God upon the miracle worker.
For example, in the days of Elijah, Israel couldn't decide Who God was, nor who spoke for Him among the people. In those days there were 450 highly visible prophets among the people who claimed that their god was the true God. And there was Elijah. One man against 450. One man who claimed that the religious nation was out to lunch. That was like having 451 churches with 450 of them united against one. Obviously the people felt comfortable listening to everyone around them condemning the one. But, Elijah proposed a contest of the gods. He said that whoever could call fire down from heaven would be deemed the true prophet and his God would be God of all. [If you want to read this story, it is in 1 Kings 18.]
The 450 did all of their religious stuff and heaven remained quiet and undisturbed. When they were finished, Elijah called upon Yahweh, God of Abraham, and heaven responded by sending fire down upon the altar Elijah had drenched with water. The fire consumed the altar, the sacrifice, and the water which was standing in a trench around the altar. The Israelites were all wowed by the demonstration and cried out, "Yahweh, He is God!". But even though they said that they believed in Elijah's God, the apostasy in the nation did not disappear. The miraculous had shown Who God was, but it didn't change the hearts of the observers. This only goes to prove that the miraculous doesn't really accomplish the goal of trying to decide who God really is. Lip service is never God's goal in identifying Himself. He seeks the heart, and the heart is unmoved by the miraculous.
What, then, should we pose as the solution to the dilemma? Obviously the Bible came about as a result of the writings of men who were able to do the miraculous, from Moses to Paul. But men remain unpersuaded today and the proof is in their radical disobedience to its teachings. So what evidence is there that the Bible really is the Word of God?
Reams and reams. There is more evidence that the Bible is the Word of God than there is that George Washington was our first president. The fly in the ointment is that nobody cares that George was our first president; i.e. no one's life is going to have to change if he was or wasn't. But, with the Bible that is not true. If the Bible really is God's Word, we have a heavy liability if we reject it [eternal condemnation looms before us]. This fearsome liability fuels the opposition, not the facts.