This week’s quick challenge answer deals with the objection that “The Bible Was Written By Illiterate Stone Age Peasants”. I’ve heard this objection in many different forms. Sometimes it’s phrased as “Who are you going to trust? Modern day scientists or some illiterate stone age peasants?” No matter what form it’s presented in, it is always meant as an insult to the authors of the Bible.
Every time I hear this objection, I’m reminded of the move The Princess Bride. In the movie, Vizzini is always using the phrase “Inconceivable!”. The problem is that every time Vizzini says “Inconceivable”, the situation he is referring to comes true. Finally exasperated with his friend, Inigo Montoya exclaims “You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means!”
I have the same reaction to the use of the word “Illiterate” when used in this way. A person who is illiterate is incapable of reading or writing. So it is quite impossible that the writers of the Bible were illiterate. It is by nature a self-defeating statement. People that are illiterate cannot write.
This would seem somewhat obvious. It’s almost funny that in an attempt to bad mouth the authors of the Bible, the statement actually shows the ignorance of the person making the claim.
Were Ancient People Stupid?
There is an underlying claim here as well. That claim is that ancient people just weren’t as bright as us modern people. I think this is not only an arrogant statement, it’s also a false one. If you look at the richness and complexity of the Bible, it is impossible to see it as a book that was just cobbled together. Even if you don’t believe the Bible is true, it certainly must be recognized as one of the greatest pieces of literature the world has ever seen.
Why Isn’t There More Science In the Bible?
One final note on science in the Bible. While the Bible does make scientific claims, it is not a science book as properly known. I believe there is a good reason for this.
Our knowledge of science changes almost daily. What is accepted science today can change dramatically in a short amount of time. I’ve heard many atheists claim that they want the Bible to offer up some scientific fact to show its true. The problem with this is timing.
If the science of today were present in the Bible, it would have made no sense to the people that it was originally written to. And in another thousand years, the science that is compelling to us will seem primitive. The Bible gives us just enough facts about the world to make it trustworthy without giving information that would either be dated or too foreign to an ancient audience.
Have you ever been challenged with this question? How did you respond?