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Is there a God? Does my life have any meaning, or does everything in the universe happen solely by random chance? How can I find the real truth about life and death? What will happen to me when I die? Is the Bible truly the “inspired” Word of God, or is it just the philosophical writings of a group of men in ancient times?
These questions occur to every one of us at some point in our lives. Our answers to these questions are vitally important because the answers will affect our goals, our relationships, our peace of mind, and, ultimately, our eternal destiny. The Bible claims to be the inspired Word of God and declares repeatedly that its message is absolutely true—without any error. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that each one of us determines for ourselves whether the Bible is truly the Word of God.
If the Bible is true and God does exist, then we will someday stand before almighty God to be judged by Him as to our eternal destiny—either heaven or hell. The Scriptures tell us that, following death, we will give an account to God about how we responded to Jesus Christ’s offer of salvation through His death on the cross. On the other hand, if the Bible is not true and God does not exist, then we are free to live as we please. If God does not exist, then we will experience the consequences of our choices solely in this world. The philosophy of “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die” is a logical response if there is no God and the universe has no purpose. If there is no God, then we are free to live as we please.
However, the answer to the question “Is the Bible truly the Word of God?” is of the greatest possible importance to every person, whether we admit it or not. Our fundamental beliefs determine our decisions and the ultimate course of our lives. If we change our deeply held beliefs, we will inevitably change our actions, our decisions, and the direction of our lives. So if you question the truth and the inspiration of the Bible, it is well worth your time to examine that belief in light of the best evidence regarding the Scriptures. If you question whether the Bible is the authoritative, inspired, absolutely true Word of God, then by all means you need to consider all the evidence.
But is it really possible to determine the truth about God and the Bible? I believe it is, and I have good reason to hold that belief. This book, The Signature of God, will examine exceptional scientific, medical, historical, and prophetic discoveries that prove that the Bible is authoritative and inspired by God. Some people are content to follow a blind faith based on the religious convictions of others. However, many of us want to examine these matters for ourselves to determine the answers. I wrote The Signature of God so that all people—skeptics, new Christians, agnostics, those with serious doubts and questions, and committed Christians who want to learn the facts that back up their faith—can study the evidence that verifies the Bible’s claims about its power, authority, and reliability.
How Would God Reveal Himself to Humanity?
Let’s conduct an experiment to examine the question of how God would reveal Himself to humanity if He decided to make Himself known. After creating the universe and everything in it—including humanity—how would God introduce Himself to make Himself known and convey His instructions? He could choose to speak to every single one of the billions of humans living in every generation, but that would be impractical. On the other hand, God could choose a number of men living in various generations over a period of centuries and inspire those men to record in writing His instructions for the rest of humanity. Obviously, the second option is the most practical.
However, there is another problem that God would face in revealing His will and instructions to us. How would He prove that the Bible was His legitimate revelation? There are many religious texts that claim to convey the message of God. The challenge would be to find a method to differentiate the genuine, inspired Scriptures from other religious books produced by religious philosophers over the centuries. I believe the solution is obvious: God would authenticate His own revelation by writing His “signature” on the pages of His Scriptures. This unmistakable “signature of God” would consist of evidence, prophetic knowledge, and phenomena found in the text that no unaided human could possibly have written. In other words, the genuine Scriptures would contain supernatural evidence within its text that no one, apart from a divine intelligence, could possibly create.
I believe that God left no room for doubt regarding the truth and reliability of His written Word. In fact, the Scriptures contain a direct statement from God that He provided precisely this type of supernatural evidence. Twenty-five centuries ago, the prophet Isaiah recorded this amazing declaration from God: “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isaiah 46:9–10).
In this passage God declared that fulfilled prophecy proves that the Scriptures are inspired by the Lord. It is impossible for any human, or even Satan, to predict future events with precise accuracy. (The writers of other religious books know they cannot accurately predict the future, so they refrain from exposing themselves to ridicule by avoiding detailed prophecies that will prove to be false. Instead, they issue vague predictions that can easily be recast and reinterpreted later on to fit whatever might happen in the world.) God is the only One who knows the future as well as the past.
My thesis in The Signature of God is that the Bible contains fascinating evidence that absolutely authenticates that the Scriptures are the inspired and authoritative Word of God. The evidence from hundreds of fulfilled prophecies regarding the life and death of Jesus Christ provides the strongest and most obvious proof of the Bible’s divine inspiration. However, there are a number of other intriguing prophecies and undeniable facts that prove that only God could have inspired the ancient writers to record His message in the Scriptures. We will examine that evidence in the chapters that follow.
Evidence That the Bible Is a Genuine Revelation from God
How would God authenticate His message so that skeptical men and women could be assured that the Scriptures were not simply the speculations of religious philosophers? How would the Lord identify His presence, His divine nature, and His commands—and provide proof that this written communication was truly from Him? There are a number of ways He would confirm His message to us:
1. The written revelation of God’s nature and commands was progressively revealed to a series of carefully chosen men over a period of sixteen centuries. The recipients were closely connected by race and faith to facilitate their gathering, assembling, preserving, and distributing God’s written revelation. The Lord chose the Jewish people, a defined race that has maintained its identity over the centuries, as the faithful guardian of His written revelations.
2. Although God’s divine communications were transmitted by inspiration to a variety of individuals, it was recorded in a permanent written form capable of being examined and read by the writers’ contemporaries as well as all generations that would follow.
3. These divine communications were occasionally accompanied by miracles to authenticate their divine origin.
4. This written revelation from God contains internal evidence that proves that God is the ultimate Author. The Bible includes information that could not have been written by limited humans. This includes scientific and medical knowledge that was not discovered or widely known until centuries following the time when the biblical writers recorded it in the Scriptures.
5. The Bible contains thousands of detailed prophecies concerning events that were precisely fulfilled many years after the predictions were made. Their fulfillment proves that God inspired the Bible. No one but God can accurately prophesy future events in such detail and never be wrong.
6. God inspired the biblical writers to record His profound wisdom and truth that transcend all human wisdom.
7. God’s Holy Spirit supernaturally transforms the lives of millions who commit themselves to the Bible’s revelation. There is undeniable supernatural power in the written Word of God.
8. The Bible’s primary purpose is to reveal God’s plan of salvation. However, whenever Scripture deals with history, archaeology, nature, medicine, or science, it reveals advanced knowledge that is true and verifiable. Such biblical statements were first recorded far in advance of the knowledge available during the time of the original human writer.
9. The Bible’s wisdom, knowledge, and ethics proclaim its supernatural origin to anyone who is seeking answers to life’s most profound questions. The wisest people of all cultures and times are committed to its truths.
10. The Scriptures contain advanced medical and sanitation knowledge that was thousands of years ahead of its time. This medical knowledge has saved countless lives. In addition, its lifesaving commands still prove their worth in our day.
11. A careful examination of the names and numbers in the Bible’s text reveals special mathematical designs and codes that are so complex that even a supercomputer could not have produced these features. Many of the designs occur throughout a series of biblical books recorded by different authors over a span of several centuries. There is no human explanation for this phenomenon except for the Bible’s divine inspiration.
12. In the 1990s, Jewish computer scientists in Israel and the United States discovered a series of remarkable Hebrew words encoded at equally spaced intervals hidden within the Hebrew text of the first five books of the Bible, the Torah. Additional researchers later proved that this phenomenon, known as Equidistant Letter Sequence (ELS), existed throughout the Old Testament Hebrew text. (It is not limited to the Torah.) God inspired the biblical writers to unconsciously use specific words and letters to produce the most intriguing and incredibly complicated mathematical and letter codes ever found. These features were hidden from the eyes of everyone until the development of mathematical and supercomputer analysis. These complex patterns constitute a powerful argument for the divine inspiration of the Bible. And while these intricate patterns exist in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, none of the apocryphal Hebrew texts, such as 1 Maccabees, displays this pattern. Further, researchers have never found clusters of complex codes in any other Hebrew religious or secular texts, such as the Talmud. This incredible phenomenon, referred to as the Bible Codes, provides compelling evidence that the Author of the inspired Scriptures was God.
13. In human literature, authors naturally try to present themselves in the best light possible. However, the Bible presents the major human figures in Scripture in both victory and defeat, in righteousness and sinfulness, and in obedience and rebellion. The Bible often portrays even the leading biblical heroes as weak, afraid, and lacking in wisdom. Additionally, biblical revelation contains many intricate details and unintended coincidences in its stories that, while easily overlooked, prove the overall truthfulness of the historical accounts.
14. Although written by forty-four men over a span of sixteen centuries, the complete text of the Bible reveals a coherent unity and progressive revelation from start to finish—from Genesis to Revelation. The story that is told in the Bible consistently reveals and develops God’s plan of redemption for humanity. The books of the Old Testament continuously point to the coming of a Messiah-King to redeem His people. (We know that Messiah to be Jesus of Nazareth, God’s Son.) The New Testament displays the fulfillment of these divine prophecies in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The unity of theology and the focus on the message of redemption throughout the Bible argue strongly that a single Author created this text. How else would forty-four writers over sixteen centuries write sixty-six different books that all tell the same story?
Three thousand years ago King David, the great king of Israel, wrote these words revealing the nature of God’s inspired Word:
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. (Psalm 19:7–11)
The Divine Inspiration of Scripture
The early Christians, Jewish scribes, and generations of Christian believers shared an unshakable conviction that the Scriptures contain the infallible, inspired, and authoritative words of God. The Bible itself claims that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). The Greek word that is translated “inspired” literally means “God-breathed,” indicating the Lord’s direct supervision of the writing by the biblical writers. The Bible claims that its words were not written by men in an ordinary manner, such as one might write a history book, a news article, poetry, or a letter to a friend. But instead,
God inspired men to record His direct words. Just as God created only one sun to provide light to our planet, He gave us only one book, the Bible, to enlighten our world spiritually. And as we will see in a later chapter, each word of Scripture is essential.
Tragically, during the twentieth century, many pastors, professors, and laypeople lost their faith and confidence that the Bible is the inspired and reliable Word of God. Dr. Kennedy, a Regius Professor of Greek at Cambridge University in the early decades of the twentieth century, warned of the battle that was about to begin over the authority of the Bible. “The inspiration of Scriptures will be the last battle ground between the Church and the world,” he stated. Unfortunately, many in our churches and seminaries abandoned this battlefield and accepted defeat at the hands of skeptics who attacked the truth, authority, and reliability of the Scriptures. The widespread rejection of the truthfulness of the Bible reveals the folly of people who “have forsaken me [God] the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns” of vain philosophy (Jeremiah 2:13). The prophet Jeremiah spoke those words twenty-five centuries ago, and his prophecy was fulfilled in the last century.
The Bible declares in numerous passages that it is the inspired Word of God. The prophet Jeremiah declared, “Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth” (Jeremiah 1:9).
God confirmed that He directly inspired the prophets to record His words and instructions, not just in a general sense, but “word for word.” In the New Testament, the apostle Peter declared, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:20–21). One of the strongest statements found in the Bible records the inspired words of Jesus, who declared, “The scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). God’s Son, the promised Messiah, on a number of occasions assured us of the absolute truth and authority of the Bible.
In this book we will carefully examine the overwhelming historical, medical, scientific, archaeological, mathematical, and other evidence that proves the inspiration and authenticity of the Bible. The evidence will establish the credibility and authority of the Scriptures for both nonbelievers and Christians, so that we all can know that the Bible is the only reliable foundation for faith in God’s revelation.
Here are the areas in which the Scriptures can be tested to prove that the Bible is the written Word of God:
1. Ancient inscriptions and manuscripts that prove the historical accuracy of the Scriptures.
2. Little-known archaeological discoveries that provide overwhelming confirmation of the accuracy of the biblical accounts, including such references as the Tower of Babel and the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt.
3. Accurate scientific statements in the Bible that cannot be explained apart from God’s inspiration. It is impossible that these statements could have been made by accident or by random chance.
4. The precise fulfillment of ancient prophecies in our generation.
5. The staggering phenomenon of hidden codes and mathematical patterns found in the text of the Bible. These could not have happened by chance, and neither could they have been produced by human intelligence.
6. Biblical “coincidences” that confirm the divine inspiration of the Scriptures.
7. The phenomenon of the transformed character and lives of the writers of the Bible.
8. The unprecedented influence of the Bible on the lives of individuals, the culture, and history of the Western world.
While many of the topics we will explore in this book are fascinating in and of themselves, their true value lies in their ability to confirm and illustrate the events, personalities, and statements of the Word of God. Alexander Knox once wrote about the relationship between human and sacred knowledge: “If in the rills which trickle down amidst these intellectual Alps and Apennines, I could discern no connection with that river which maketh glad the city of God, I own that I should look upon them with as little interest as upon the rocky fragments through which they passed.”1
As a researcher and writer I feel a tremendous responsibility to carefully check the accuracy of every statement because of the exceptional importance of prophecy and scriptural truths. Those who write about the truths of the Scriptures are like the scribes of ancient Israel. The Scriptures declare that “every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old” (Matthew 13:52). When we as researchers, students of Scripture, and writers seek to explore the wonderful truths of the Bible, we also “bring forth out of his treasure things new and old” in our attempt to reveal the deeper truths of the Word of God. I take my work very seriously.
The Undeniable Accuracy of the Bible Manuscripts
Over the last four thousand years, Jewish scribes and, later, Christian scribes were very careful to correctly copy and transmit the original manuscripts of sacred Scripture without any significant error. The Jewish scribes who copied by hand the manuscripts of the Old Testament were called “Masoretic,” derived from the Hebrew word for “wall” or “fence.” Their extreme care in counting the letters of the Bible created a “fence around the Law” to defend the accuracy of the biblical text. For example, out of the 78,064 Hebrew letters that make up the book of Genesis, the scribes and sages were so precise that they were able to pinpoint the middle verse of Genesis, which is “And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck” (27:40). When a scribe completed his copy of the Scriptures, a master examiner would count every letter to confirm that there were no errors in the newly copied manuscript. If an error was found, the corrupted copy was destroyed to prevent it from ever being used as a master copy in the future.
As proof of the accuracy of this transmission of the biblical text through the centuries, consider the Masoretic and Yemenite translations of the Torah. More than one thousand years ago, Yemenite Jews were separated from their brother Jews in the Middle East and Europe. Despite separate transmissions and copying of their Torah manuscripts, a thousand years later only 9 Hebrew letters, out of some 304,805 letters in the Yemenite Torah manuscript, differ from the accepted Hebrew Masoretic text. A variation of only 9 letters out of more than 300,000 Hebrew letters amounts to only 0.00295 or 1/339th of 1 percent!2 And it is important to note that none of these 9 variant letters changes the meaning of a significant word in the Torah. This proves how exceptionally careful, even over a thousand-year period, Jewish scribes were in copying the manuscripts.
God preserved the original text of His Scriptures throughout the last thirty-five hundred years, enabling us to have confidence that we still possess the accurate text of the inspired Word of God. The prophet Isaiah declared that the Word of God is eternal: “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8). In the New Testament, Jesus confirmed the indestructibility of His Word: “For verily I
say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18).
In the eighteenth century the famous English critic and conversationalist Dr. Samuel Johnson made this valuable suggestion: “Keep your friendships in repair.” This is excellent advice in human relationships as well as in regard to our relationship to the Bible. Our personal relationship with the Word of God needs to be cared for just as much as our human friendships. We need to respect God’s Word and handle it with love and care. We can enjoy the unchanging companionship of God expressed through His divine Word even when we are separated from friends by distance or death. While our experiences, possessions, and relationships constantly undergo change, we can return again and again to the unchanging Word of God as a solid foundation for our faith. The Bible will always be there to speak to our hearts with God’s words of wisdom, comfort, and love. Such is the gift we have in God’s eternal Word.
Unexpected Discoveries: Evidence of God
Archaeologists discovered more than one thousand items of jewelry and pottery in nine burial caves across the Hinnom Valley opposite the southern walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. The treasures included two silver charms bearing remarkable biblical inscriptions. The cave where the charms were found is about nine hundred yards south of where Solomon’s Temple stood three thousand years ago. The items of jewelry were composed of thin pieces of pure silver rolled up like tiny scrolls, designed to be worn as charms around the neck. While part of the text was lost, the remaining portion revealed that the charms contained the oldest biblical inscription ever found. The remaining text recorded the priestly blessing from the book of Numbers: “The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace” (6:24–26).
I had the privilege of examining this inscription in the Israel Museum. This biblical text was inscribed more than twenty-six hundred years ago, in the seventh century before Christ. It predates by more than four hundred years the writing of most of the
Dead Sea Scrolls.
The Bible records only one statement made by God to atheists and agnostics. God declares that those who deny His existence are fools: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm 14:1; 53:1). When I attended school, I used to engage in debates with atheists and agnostics about the existence of God. However, as I analyzed the underlying attitude of the people I debated, I realized that debates of this kind were futile. Now when I get into a discussion with an atheist or an agnostic, I simply respond as follows: “I will not debate you about whether God exists for the same reason that I would not debate someone about whether the world is round. I believe that those who claim, ‘There is no God,’ in the face of overwhelming evidence found throughout nature are either fools or liars. Any person who honestly believes that all of the marvelous complexity of this universe simply happened by chance is a fool. If he is not a fool, yet still claims to believe that this incredibly complex universe is a result of random chance,
then I must conclude that he is not being honest. In either case it is clearly a waste of time to argue the obvious.”
The wonders of creation reveal God’s awesome creative power to anyone whose eyes are open to see the truth. God’s providence reveals His wisdom; God’s Law revealed in the Old Testament shows us His great justice; the four Gospels reveal His overwhelming love for humanity through the person of Jesus Christ. God has made sure that wherever we look, we can find evidence of His existence—if we are seriously looking for it.
The Supreme Value of the Bible
Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832) was the brilliant poet and author of more than sixty popular books. When he was finally approaching the moment of death, Scott asked his son-in-law and biographer, John G. Lockhart, to bring “the book” from his library. When Lockhart asked, “Which book, Sir Walter?” Scott answered, “There is only one book,” pointing to the Holy Bible. In his deathbed conversation, Scott correctly assessed the supreme value of the Scriptures far above the other great books in his library, which included his own classics.
The most important event in history is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The most important fact in the universe is the reality of God and His revelation to us through His Word. The most important decision in the life of any person is the choice he or she must make in regard to personal faith in Jesus Christ.
Another great man, President Abraham Lincoln, wrote the following regarding the Bible in a “Reply to Loyal Colored People of Baltimore upon Presentation of a Bible”: “It is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Saviour gave to the world was communicated through this book.”3
The Pony Express Bible
The history of the pony express forms a fascinating chapter in the history of the American West. Dedicated and resourceful riders carried the mail from St. Joseph, Missouri, over more than nineteen hundred miles through dangerous Indian country to
Sacramento, California. The pony express acquired five hundred of the strongest and fastest horses the company could find. Forty brave men rode in relays, with each man riding fifty miles to the next station. Using four relays per day, the pony express traveled as far as two hundred miles per day. A letter could be delivered over the nineteen-hundred-mile distance in only ten days.
To cut down on any unnecessary weight, riders would use the lightest saddles made, with small, flat leather bags holding the mail. Riders carried no rifles, and letters were written on very thin paper. (The postage rate was five dollars per ounce, equal to two hundred dollars per letter in today’s currency.)
The managers of the pony express believed that the Scriptures were so important that they presented a full-size pony express Bible to each rider when he joined this unusual company. Despite their concern for reducing the weight of a rider’s equipment, every rider carried a Bible. Further, every pony express rider took the following oath: “I do hereby swear before the great and living God that during my engagement with Russell, Majors and Waddell [the pony express management], I will under no circumstances use profane language, that I will drink no intoxicating liquors, that I will not quarrel or fight with other employees of the firm, and that in every respect I will conduct myself honestly, be faithful in my duties, and so direct all my acts as to win the confidence of my employers. So help me God.”4
Stanley and Livingstone
The famous missionary and explorer David Livingstone disappeared during his trip into previously unexplored regions of central Africa. News from his expedition reported that Livingstone was sick and without supplies, and that he had been deserted by his native guides. Many in Europe gave Livingstone up as lost after more than a year with no additional news. However, a small group of supporters in London and the United States funded a rescue mission to save “Scotland’s finest son.” In 1869 the New York Herald outfitted reporter and explorer Henry M. Stanley to mount an expedition to find Livingstone in Africa.
When he commenced his journey, Stanley carried baggage that included several cases containing seventy-three hardbound books. However, as he and his African carriers began to succumb to fatigue, Stanley began to abandon (or burn for fuel) his precious books. As the group continued through the jungle, Stanley’s library dwindled in size until there was only one book left, his precious Bible.
With God’s assistance Stanley finally found Livingstone and greeted him with the famous words, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” The explorers shared their deep faith in Jesus Christ. Livingstone told Stanley about the wonderful conversions of many
African tribes to faith in Christ, although these tribes previously had engaged in cannibalism. When he returned from his extraordinary journey, Stanley reported that he had read his Bible three times from Genesis through Revelation during his long and arduous journey.
As you read The Signature of God, I hope you will experience the same thrill of discovery and wonder that I have felt as the Lord led me to carefully research the evidence for the inspiration of the Scriptures. I hope this book will enable many readers to restore their confidence in the Bible as God’s inspired Word. God provided abundant, convincing proof through the evidence of His signature, which appears throughout the Bible’s pages. We will discover and read His signature again and again in the chapters that follow.
1. Alexander Knox, quoted in Charles Forster, Sinai Photographed (London: Richard Bentley, 1862).
2. Jeffrey Satinover, Cracking the Bible Code (New York: William Morrow, 1997), 51.
3. Abraham Lincoln, “Reply to Loyal Colored People of Baltimore upon Presentation of a Bible,” in The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, ed. Roy P. Basler (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953–55), 7:542.
4. The solemn oath of the pony express riders can be found at officialponyexpress.org/index_files/Page860.htm.
From the Trade Paperback edition.