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Truth is Stranger than Fiction

Have you ever got really involved in a TV show? If you have you know how that show becomes part of your weekly routine. You look forward to it. You feel a connection to it. But eventually the show comes to an end and they have the series finale. I looked up what the worst tv finales of all time were and every series on the list was extremely popular. The finale was a dud. This is probably because a finale storyline has an infinite number of possibilities. The writers can choose anything they want, but no matter what it is, it probably isn’t going to be as fulfilling as what we want. This is a big difference in true stories and fiction.

Mark Twain said, “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obligated to stick with the possibilities. Truth isn’t”. Truth doesn’t have the ability to change. An event either did or didn’t happen. There is no middle ground. We can’t revise or tweak the truth. It either is or it isn’t

One of the reasons that I am confident in the Bible being the true word of God is how “strange” it is at times. If it was man-made it would not contain some things that are in it, and it would contain some things that are missing.

Consider Moses. Moses was the great leader of the children of Israel. He led them out of Egyptian bondage. He was given the ability to part the Red Sea. He had direct conversations with Almighty God. He received the Law of God. The Bible declares that Moses was the “meekest man on the earth” (Numbers 12:3). He is a top 10 hero of the many bible characters. If the Bible is a work of fiction why would it cause Moses to sin and not enter the promised land?

In Numbers 20 we find the Children of Israel camping in the Wilderness of Zin. There was no water in this area and the people complain to Moses of how it would have been better for them to have stayed in Egypt. The Lord tells Moses to bring the congregation to a rock, speak to the rock, and it will pour out water. Instead, Moses takes his staff and hits the rock. Because of this act of disobedience God tells him that he will not enter into the promised land.

There is no reason for this story to be in the Bible except that it is true. No person would make a seemingly small sin like hitting a rock the sin that keeps someone from receiving their reward. In fact, this story has been pondered over and discussed since it happened with people trying to understand what made this SO evil. Why did Moses break out of his meek and patient character here? That is a strange story. Truth is stranger than fiction.

Also, on the top ten list of great Bible characters is King David. Who isn’t thrilled with young David’s courage and faith to face Goliath? How many times have we been comforted by his word’s “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”? The Lord makes great promises to David because of his faithfulness and desire to serve God. It is through David’s seed that the Christ would come who would usher in an eternal kingdom (2 Sam 7:16). God called David a “man after my own heart” (1 Sam 13:4, Acts 13:22). David is a great hero to all of God’s people.

But why include his flaws? If the Bible is just made up, why does it include all of the evil things that David engaged in? Many are familiar with his adultery with Bathsheba, followed by the attempt to cover it all up, followed by the murder of her noble husband, Uriah. But there were many other sinful things that he did that the Bible does not shy away from. All of these sins are included because it is the truth. It’s not a man-made book.

Another component to a true account is the information that is missing. Logically, information has to be left out if the information is unavailable. The information in the bible was the work of combined sources. There was the person that was to deliver the message, and then there was the Holy Spirit who inspired or perfected the things that were said. 2 Peter 1:21 says it like this “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”. This process reveals itself in the four biographies of Jesus but especially in Luke and John.

John was an eye witness to the things he wrote (21:24). They were his memories, but he also didn’t write EVERY memory he had of Jesus (21:25). The Holy Spirit selected, corrected and perfected those memories for John. Luke was not an eye witness, he was a historian. He gathered his account from eyewitnesses (1:1-2). The Holy Spirit selected, corrected, and perfected what Luke recorded.

If the Bible is a man-made piece of fiction why doesn’t it include Jesus' childhood? John may not have been an eyewitness to his childhood, but why didn’t Luke find out that information? He did such a thorough job in his research, but he didn’t learn about Jesus as a kid? Since 1970 there have been over 25,000 books written about Jesus, with so many of them devoting much thought and speculation to the Lord’s childhood. This all just goes to show that if the Bible was man-made, it wouldn’t leave out seemingly important information like that. It’s strange to leave out Jesus childhood.

But truth is stranger than fiction.


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