Saturday, October 18, 2014

The scriptures are more ancient than modern

During one of his missionary journeys, Paul had occasion to pass through Athens where he caused quite a stir with his preaching of the Gospel and of the resurrection of the dead.
"And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. Some were saying, 'What would this idle babbler wish to say?' Others, 'He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,' — because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, 'May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming? For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean.' (Now all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new.)" (Acts 17:18-21)
We too like new things. We like hearing and telling things we just learned and others have yet to know. We are excited by the newest fads, the present sensations. and the things everyone is talking about. Even these Greeks, though they possessed some of the most ancient of philosophies, were always looking for something new.

When something is old or ancient we often dismiss it as outdated or out-of-touch with today's realities. This is true of philosophy and it is also true of religions as well. Not all religions are ancient and old. Some, like Scientology, have come into existence within the last fifty to a hundred years. Even the Muslim religion, as established in the Koran, dates back only to seventh century AD. However, the religion and philosophy, as described through the scriptures, are much more ancient and their existence much more anterior to all other religions and philosophies today. The scriptures, as a recording of religious thought, philosophy, and history, is far more ancient and is from a time that long existed before all other religions and philosophies and is from an age much older than our modern times.

The Greeks, who believed themselves to have been the original developers of philosophies and the religious system used by both the Greeks and Romans, are actually more recent than Moses and most of the prophets and borrowed much of their philosophy from them. Justin Martyr wrote of the antiquity of the scriptures, especially when compared to Greek philosophy and mythology, saying,
"I will begin, then, with our first prophet and lawgiver, Moses; first explaining the times in which he lived, on authorities which among you are worthy of all credit. For I do not propose to prove these things only from our own divine histories, which as yet you are unwilling to credit on account of the inveterate error of your forefathers, but also from your own histories, and such, too, as have no reference to our worship, that you may know that, of all your teachers, whether sages, poets, historians, philosophers, or lawgivers, by far the oldest, as the Greek histories show us, was Moses, who was our first religious teacher. For in the times of Ogyges and Inachus, whom some of your poets suppose to have been earth-born, Moses is mentioned as the leader and ruler of the Jewish nation." (Justin Martyr, Hortatory Address to the Greeks, Chapter 9)
Similarly, Theophilus, in his letter to Autolycus, testified of the antiquity of the Jewish religion and of the written revelation of God from the scriptures.
"That Moses, and not he only, but also most of the prophets who followed him, is proved to be older than all writers, and than Saturn and Belus and the Trojan war, is manifest. For according to the history of Thallus, Belus is found to be 322 years prior to the Trojan war. But we have shown above that Moses lived somewhere about 900 or 1000 years before the sack of Troy." (Theophilus to Autolycus, Book 3, Chapter 29)
The antiquity of the scriptures is unique. The scriptures are not a modern innovation but an accurate ancient record of the entire history of the world and of mankind. It begins with the creation of the world and especially of mankind. In recording God's revelation to man, even from the beginning, it demonstrates a God who can be known and who wants to be know. It helps us understand the order of history, the development of man, the formation of religion, and the future hope of all living things. It gives context to knowledge and understanding in the form of a bigger picture. It is not limited by modern ideas or present knowledge but shows forth the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of one who never changes. It helps us understand where we came from, how we got here, and where we are going. It gives us a comprehensive view of life and the desires of the One who created and gave us that life. The scriptures alone answer the questions of our heart, teach us to live according to how we were created, and give us hope for the future. The scriptures are ancient because they came from one who always existed and exists outside of time, in fact, from the one who actually created time and space. The antiquity of the scriptures are our reason to trust them and to build our lives upon them for the reveal that which is, and will always be, true. It is time we turn aside from all modern inventions and ideas and return to learn afresh the ancient truths of the scriptures.

David Robison

No comments:

Post a Comment