by Terry W. Benton
There is something unique about the Bible that sets it apart from all other books that claim some kind of divine authority associated with them.
Human Wisdom Alone Can Account For All Others
When we examine each book there are features that lend credibility to the claim of inspiration in one case, and missing elements in the other books that raise questions about the power and wisdom of the "god" behind them. Human wisdom alone can account for some of the books that make a claim to being divinely inspired. In only one case, the Bible, does the nature and content defy human wisdom and reveal wisdom higher than human ability and desire. In other words, if men could have made up the story and have gotten over 40 different writing participants to build this theme over 1500 years, they would not have done so, even if they could. It is a book that accuses all men of sin and exposes man's weaknesses and sinful thoughts and actions, even the people who were participants in the writings of inspiration are exposed in most uncomfortable ways, sometimes, that human wisdom would not allow. David is a case in point. Can you imagine how stories of sin in great kings and leaders would have been left out, if all this was was a production of human wisdom? Who wants their dirty laundry hung out for countless generations when they have the power to stop such humanly guided stories? Why is everyone agreeing that they all sin, but all are agreeing that Jesus did not? If it is all about human wisdom, why do the players in the story allow the story to be written in the way that it has been? Human wisdom would have written the Bible quite differently.
Three Features Set the Bible Apart from Others
First, the High and Holy Standard Within the Story
The Bible sets a standard that would not have been invented by human desire or human wisdom alone. We naturally want standards that we can easily reach. We tend to lower our standards when others around us are lowering theirs. What motivated the writers of the Bible to want to write about a standard that nobody was keeping?
The standard they all alluded to and wrote about would not have survived for one day under conditions of human wisdom alone. It made David look like an incredible hypocrite when Nathan exposed his adultery and murder. Why would a king and his heirs (David's family) allow the story of his adultery to be passed on? For what gain? Those kinds of stories are kept in the closet. When men have the power to hide the story or to justify the behavior by human wisdom, that is how the story will be written. Who told any of them that David was doing anything wrong anyway? By what standard? Who made up the standard that made David look bad? Why was that standard more important than King David's greatness?
Why would the book of Jeremiah (with all the story of sin in Israel) survive? Why would the Israelite people allow their story to look so horrible? The Old Testament is not a tribute to Israel. It is an open testimony of their failures as people. Yet, they let it be written and claimed it as inspired by God. If human wisdom alone was guiding a theme, why was it always a theme that exposed the people that were supposed to be "God's people"? Why does it not exploit Israel's virtues? Human wisdom does not like to look so bad. Yet, this book makes Israel look badly for most of the 39 books of Jewish history. If men of Israel could have written the Old Testament by human wisdom alone, I cannot envision that they would have written the books this way. There were too few heroes and all accepted the fact that there was not a righteous man that did not sin. Human wisdom would not unite on a theme of "sin" in all men. If they wanted to invent gods to believe in, they would simply lower the standards of their so-called "god".
Second, Consider the Nature of the Prophecies
The so-called prophecies these writers wrote by human wisdom are telling of Israel's blindness when the Messiah would come (Isaiah 53:1ff). "We hid, as it were, our faces from Him." "Who has believed our report?" If we are going to make up a story about our people, at least it will have a great ending about how great we were, and if we are going to invent a story about a coming King, at least we will predict how we will all believe in Him. We will not speak of how he would be led as a sheep to the slaughter. We will make Him great, not humiliated. Human wisdom simply would not have prophesied the kind of things that the Old Testament prophesied about the Messiah and of the outcome that the bulk of Israelites missing out, and of the fall and destruction of their great city, Jerusalem. Who would and who could have written such things by human wisdom alone?
Human wisdom would not have directed the Jewish writers to be telling of earthly kingdoms that would defeat and rule over Israel in successions as we see in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and especially Daniel. The Bible is written in such a way as to show that men could not have invented it or predicted the kind of things that did come to pass exactly as predicted. It is written in such a way that if men could have written it, they would not have written it with all the shame it gives to the people of Israel. If men could have written the Old Testament, it would have been quite different. But, it has the features that show that it could not have been written by human wisdom alone.
Third, Consider the Divine Testimony of the Prophecies
Who could predict such things? Who could have predicted a child to be called "Mighty God" (Isaiah 9:6), to be born of a virgin in Bethlehem, who would be rejected by His own people, save only a remnant of Israel, be lead as a sheep to the slaughter, yet His soul would not be left in Hades nor His flesh see corruption? Who could have predicted the rise and fall of kingdoms like Babylon, Nineveh, Tyre and Sidon, the fall of Jerusalem, the subjugation of the Medes and Persians to the Grecians, and a fourth kingdom mightier than those at which time God would set up His kingdom? Who could have predicted the things surrounding Jesus' death, the lots cast for his garments, the pierced hands, and feet, while not a bone is broken? Who could have predicted that in three days He would be raised from the dead? What other book shows such a unity of theme, such a marvelous array of divine wisdom in predictive prophecy? These features are quite missing from the Book of Mormon, and the Quran or Koran. There is no book that equals the Bible in divine foreknowledge and wisdom.
Even if men could have predicted such an array of things, who could make it happen? There is no book like the Bible. An amazing feature of the Old Testament is the many direct prophecies and the subtle types and shadows of Christ you can see from the very beginning to the very ending of the Jewish collection of what they always claimed as inspired and sacred books of God. Even while their story within their sacred books is not very complimentary to them as a people, they still held these books as sacred. Oh the wisdom of God in all of this!
The Other Books
The Quran or Koran
This so-called sacred collection only sounds holy when it leans on Bible truths. Mohammed believed the sacred books of the Jews and Christians and leaned heavily upon them. The Quran is very unstable as Mohammed swings from respect for the people of the book to a disdain for them as they refused to count him as a prophet. It has no features that are beyond human ability. It does not prove itself divine by predictive ability, but, having admitted the divine nature and origin of the Bible, why does the Quran change from those qualities and abilities? It is wholly inconsistent with itself and the books of the Jews and Christians (the Bible). It possesses the features of human self-contradiction. That is, the Quran is simply the ramblings of an unstable man who wanted to be counted as a prophet of God and could not get it on his own merits and qualities, so he determined to force subjugation to him with sword and fear. Yet, he possessed no real relationship to the biblical prophets or in any power to layout history hundreds of years in advance as the Bible had done on numerous occasions. In fact, this book could have been written by human wisdom alone. In fact, it was, but it has spread evil, fear, murder, and subjugation, not on the merits of self-evidence, but on the basis of fear.
The Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon is of similar nature as the Koran. It is a collection of ramblings that leans heavily on the King James Version of the Bible, an amazing thing in and of itself if it was really a collection of sacred writings of Bible times but discovered in gold plates in New York in the mid-1800s. Why would it quote so heavily in the King James language from the King James Version of the Bible? Why does it not contain the same predictive elements of prophecy as the Bible? There is so much reason to question the origin of the Book of Mormon as well as the nature of the content. Indeed, this book could have been written by human wisdom alone. In fact, it was. Joseph Smith had been influenced by Free-Masonry, elements of the Restoration movement going on at the time, and essays pertaining to the origin of the Indians in this country. He combined several themes with his imagination and produced what he called more books of the Bible. Their characteristics and features do not match the kind of things that show divine wisdom and foreknowledge. It is simply a work in deception, showing signs of human wisdom alone.
Only the Bible has the unity of theme pointing forward (Old Testament) and backward (New Testament) to the predicted Messiah, who is Jesus Christ, the Savior of all men. Only the Bible shows the predictive features of true divine wisdom. The Bible shows itself to be a complete and final revelation (Jude 3; II Peter 1:3; II Timothy 3:16-17; John 16:13; Ephesians 2:19-22). Therefore, no other book or books can be associated with the Creator. The Bible is God's, the Creator's, only written revelation. We can be very sure of that conclusion.