Further Study: The Bible and History

“The Bible is the most ancient and the most comprehensive history that men possess. It came fresh from the fountain of eternal truth, and throughout the ages a divine hand has preserved its purity. . . . Here only do we find an authentic account of the origin of nations. Here only is given a history of our race unsullied by human pride or prejudice.

“In the annals of human history the growth of nations, the rise and fall of empires, appear as dependent on the will and prowess of man. The shaping of events seems, to a great degree, to be determined by his power, ambition, or caprice. But in the word of God the curtain is drawn aside, and we behold, behind, above, and through all the play and counterplay of human interests and power and passions, the agencies of the all merciful One, silently, patiently working out the counsels of His own will.

“The Bible reveals the true philosophy of history.”—Ellen G. White, Education, p. 173.  

Discussion Questions:

   For many years, philosophers and theologians have debated the thorny issue of God’s foreknowledge and human free will. Many have seen them as incompatible. They argue either that we don’t have free will or that God doesn’t know all the future. Why, though, are both those positions wrong? What evidence do we have in the Bible that we do have free will? What evidence do we have that God does know the future? The truth must be that, even with our free will, God knows future events before they unfold. Why is there no contradiction in the idea of God having foreknowledge of a choice that is freely made?  

 One of Satan’s harshest attacks is on Daniel 2, which provides such rational evidence for God’s existence. After all, what firmer foundation can you have for faith than something as solid and unchangeable as world history? Part of his attack is to use scholars to argue that Daniel 2 was written about 165 B.C., long after many of the events predicted in it already happened. Yet, the argument is destroyed by the prophecy itself. How could Daniel have so accurately predicted the break up of Rome into the nations of modern Europe, which didn’t happen until more than 500 or 600 years later than 165 B.C.? If an amazing prediction like that required supernatural foreknowledge, why shouldn’t we then trust the book for what it says about itself and when it was written, as opposed to accepting a view that is refuted by the prophecy itself? The whole point of the late dating of Daniel is to try to denude it of its prophetic power. As we can see, this attempt fails, even miserably. 


However chaotic world history can appear, above it all the Lord is working out His purposes, and human history will end with the glorious second coming of Jesus.


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