The Old Testament: Fact or Fiction?
This paper will summarize only a few of the evidences and arguments for the validity of the Old Testament, many more can be found. I am neither a theologian nor a scholar, but I do have an accurate knowledge of the scripture of both the Old and New Testaments. I do know that the Old Testament is prophecy and the New Testament is the fulfillment of that prophesy. Without the Old Testament, the New Testament loses much of its importance. To say that the Old Testament is exaggerated, is to say that our God is not capable of performing vast miracles to keep his promises. I reject this idea. The first paragraph of this essay has nothing to do with anything; I just threw it in for flavor. If I have not provided references for any statement in my essay and you would like to see them, let me know and I will get them for you.
The Family Ties of Cain:
Is it apparent contradiction, or common misconception? I choose the latter. By Genesis 4:14, we have only heard about four people so far - Adam, Eve, Cain, and Able. Two questions arise: Why was Cain worried about being killed by others, and where did he get his wife (see 4:17)?
Adam and Eve had numerous children; they had been told to "fill the earth" (1:28). Cain's guilt and fear over killing his brother were heavy, and he probably feared repercussions from his family. If he was capable of killing, so were they. The wife Cain chose may have been one of his sisters or a niece. The human race was sill genetically pure, and there was no fear or side effects from marrying relatives.
The Old Testament Supported by the New:
In Mark 13:31 Jesus himself states, "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away." Sure, people are quite capable of tampering with religious texts to suit their own meanings, but here, Jesus Christ himself says it will never happen. Would he lie? Is he incapable of knowing the truth? Is he incapable of keeping his promises? Not my Jesus. 1 Peter 1:23 says, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." Ephesians 6:17 tells us to " . . . take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Would the Lord command us to arm ourselves with a defective sword? John 1:1 says the "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." If God is eternal, unchanging, and prefect, than so is his word. But what evidence do we have that the Old Testament really is the Word of God? Read on.
If the Old Testament wasn't the word of God, would Jesus have told his disciples? He would not lie to them about it. His disciples quoted the Old Testament numerous times in the New Testament. If they were wrong in doing this, he would have rebuked them. He too used the Old Testament scriptures in most of his teachings. Matt 4 gives us a very clear example of the validity and significance of the Old Testament writings. To say that they have changed over time would contradict with the words of Jesus in Mark 13:31. Also, Jesus' and the rest of the disciples' and apostles' Old Testament references are all perfectly accurate and identical to the ones still found in the Old Testament of today.
Evidence Through the Holy Spirit
When you become a Christian, you are baptized with the Holy Spirit. Jesus called the Holy Spirit a "Counselor" and said it would lead us into all truth, and would speak only what was heard (John 15:26-27). If the Old Testament was not truth, then the Holy Spirit would not lead me there. The Spirit would not allow me to fall into false teachings (1 John 2:26-27). I would be told trough prayer, scripture, or some other means, that what I was reading was not the truth. But the Holy Spirit does lead me there. According to New Testament teachings, that is proof enough that the Old Testament is truth. The Holy Spirit only speaks what he hears. God does not speak lies.
Other evidence of the Bible's reliability comes from the Dead Sea scrolls. The book of Isaiah has been full vindicated. The book of Isaiah found with the Dead Sea Scrolls dates to about 1,000 years earlier (about 150 BC) than the manuscripts we have been using, which dates to about AD 980. Yet the differences are very minor. They are word for word identical in more than 95% of the text, and the differences do not change doctrine, teachings or history. They are chiefly scribal errors and variations in spelling.