Posted by jlwile on February 10, 2010
Norwegian Shooter’s latest comment got me thinking about my journey from atheism to Christianity. As I look back on that journey, I realize how similar my experience was to that of Dr. Esther Su. As a scientist, I have to believe in things that are rational. As a result, when a girl who I wanted to date kept talking to me about Christianity, I dismissed it, because the brainwashing I had received from authors like
Bertram Bertrand Russell indicated that Christianity was not rational. Of course, as is the case with most brainwashing, that turned out to be 100% false, but it took me a while to figure that out.
This girl eventually took me to a debate between an atheist who was a scientist and a Christian who was a scientist. The debate was interesting, but what was more interesting was that the Christian gave several references that I could read to learn more about the shocking idea that Christianity is rational. I reluctantly looked into some of those references, and eventually, I learned that atheists had lied to me most of my life.
One of the more profound books I read (Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell) spent a great deal of time discussing prophecies in the Bible. Essentially, the argument was that if the Bible is the Word of God, it should have some qualities that distinguish it from any other work of literature. One of those qualities is that it is incredibly accurate when predicting the future.
The author lists many, many prophecies in the Old Testament that came true in history, but by far the most impressive are the ones about the coming Messiah. We know that the entire Old Testament was written by no later than 250 BC, because the Greek Septuagint was done during the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, which occurred between 283 and 246 BC.1
So we know that the prophecies about the coming Messiah were written long before Jesus, but their accuracy is simply stunning. The one that probably did the most to convince me that there is a supernatural quality to the Bible is found in Zechariah 11:12-13. In this passage we read:
I said to them, “If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!” So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages. Then the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.” So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the LORD.
Does any of that sound remotely familiar? We know that Christ was betrayed by Judas for the “magnificent price” of 30 shekels of silver (Matthew 26:15). Once Judas saw what was happening to Christ as a result of his betrayal, however, he returned to the temple (the house of the Lord), and he threw the silver pieces in a fit of remorse and rage (Matthew 27:5). The priests, who were more than happy to give him the money to betray his friend, were meticulous about the details of the Law. Thus, they could not put the money back into the treasury, so they used it to purchase a field for the burial of strangers. The field was named “The Potter’s Field” (Matthew 27:7).
Now this is just one of a huge list of prophecies that all came true in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. There is a prophecy that tells us that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), but there is another that says He would be called out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1). There is even a prophecy about what would happen to His clothes when He was killed (Psalm 22:16-18). In the end, there are as many as 332 prophecies in the Old Testament that all come true in the details surrounding Christ.2
While the accuracy of the Bible at predicting the future is not the only reason I came to Christ, it was a big factor – something that the scientist in me simply could not ignore.
1. Thomas Hartwell Horne, An introduction to the critical study of the Holy Scriptures, Volume 1, T. Cadell, p. 264, 1839
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2. Josh McDowell, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Here’s Life Publishers: San Bernardino, CA, 1979, pp. 175-176
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