Apologies to every tween girl’s favorite British boy band, but the above lyric simply cannot be true. Is she beautiful or not? Apparently everyone can see that she is. But then with an “oh, oh, oh!” they inform us that what makes her beautiful is the fact that she doesn’t know that she is beautiful. That is just nonsense. In order for her to lack the knowledge of her beauty, it is necessary that she must first be beautiful. It might be considered a beautiful quality that she is not vain or conceited. But that is not the same as saying, “not knowing that you are X is what makes you X.”
“The Bible is true because it says it’s true.” - Anonymous Christian
Apologies to well meaning Christians who use this phrase, but like the lyric above, it simply cannot be true. Just because the Bible says that it is true, that doesn’t make it true. If that is the determinative factor, then what shall we say about the holy books of other religions which also claim to be true?
In order for claim X--which says that according to claim X*, claim X is true--to go through, claim X must actually be true. For example, if someone says, “Jason is 7 feet tall,” (claim X), it it does not matter if I told you that I am 7 feet tall (claim X*). "Well, how do you know that Jason is 7 feet tall?" "Because he said he is!" Wrong. First of all, what I say has no bearing on how tall I am. I am not a wizard that can magically speak myself taller (wouldn't that be awesome). Secondly, how do you know that what I said is true? Anyone living in the internet age should know that people say all sorts of things about their physical appearance that are not always true. I can hear Brad Paisley's "So Much Cooler Online" in my mind right now. Anyway... if claim X is false then both X and X* are false. The truth of X* cannot obtain if X is false. In the same way, it cannot be the case that the Bible is true merely because it says so. After all, if it is not actually true, then it is also false when it says it is true; and if it is actually true, then that truth is not dependent upon the claim in order to be so.
Now, I realize that as soon as I say that the Bible is not true simply because it says so, some people will immediately have a hernia. Some will have a knee jerk reaction, and accuse me of denying the inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility of Scripture. Others will jump to the conclusion that my next move will be to show how Bible is true because evidence shows it is true. But that is precisely the opposite of my point in this article. That would be just like saying “She is beautiful because she doesn’t know she is beautiful.” Except in this case, it would be: “The Bible is true because the evidence shows it is true.” Again, that is nonsense. In order for the evidence to show that the Bible is true, it is necessary that it must first be true. The evidence simply shows that the claim corresponds to reality, which is just another way of saying that it shows the claim is true.
I will say more concerning the claim, “the Bible is true” in future installments of this series. But for now, I want to let this point have room to put down some roots.
In Part II, I will look at the question, “What exactly does it mean to say the Bible is true?”
In Part III, I will survey the evidence in support of a historical Christian position concerning the Bible. STAY TUNED!