Question: I believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God. But what do I say to questions like these: if there is a devil, it’s possible that he wrote the Bible to steer you away from another true religion. .. and psychics can tell the future, and that could account for the success of biblical prophecy… or, non-Christian religions had miracles.

There is an idea out there that biblical Christianity is a plan of the devil. He wants to deceive everyone and keep them away from something else that’s true. How would you respond to this to show that the Bible is of an almighty, moral and perfect God? How would you defend it to show it's of God and not the enemy… that it's not a deception plan, but one put together by God for truth and life?

Answer: First, let me commend you for your stand on God’s inspired word! But what do we do with people who take the opposite stand — people who offer their own “apologetics?” We pray for them, of course… and try to maintain cordial relationships. But is there something more substantive we can do… like answering their objections directly?

Not always… and be warned: our answers are rarely as fun as their objections. That’s one of the problems with breezy challenges; it’s more fun to throw stones than it is to have qualitative discussions about issues. Furthermore, throwers of stones only rarely hang around to hear what we — the examiners of stones — have to say about those projectiles. Nevertheless, there are things we can say.

Where the skeptic says, “If there is a devil, it’s possible that he wrote the Bible to steer you away from another true religion.” I would say that is not a reasonable statement. First, I’d ask him if he’s ever read the Bible. Not only does it praise God and instruct humankind in righteousness, but it exposes Satan and his methods. He’d be an idiot to promote such a book!

Second, this objection requires that we postulate Satan —  a powerful spirit being — and if we postulate him, we have to postulate that a spiritual world exists, and it’s a virtual necessity that such a world would include God or his near equivalent. So, here’s the issue:

Romans 1:18-20 teaches that some aspects of God can be known through his creation. But that’s not true of the devil; we only know about him through the Bible. So, skeptics who complain about the contents of the Bible by using one of its characters must assume that those contents have some veracity. If they do not, their postulations are absurd — and here’s the principle: never allow skeptics to define the field of play.

We Christians know the field of play… that God is omnipotent, that Satan is created, and that as such, he cannot be equal to God. Furthermore, God would never let him pull a stunt like co-opting his written word. Scripture tells us that the devil does have quite a bit of power here on earth, but God limits his activities (Job 1:1-2:10). So, just as God did not allow Satan to take Job’s life, he would never allow Satan to kill or maim the Book of Life.

But if the skeptic’s response to that was, “But Satan only exists in my example,” my first response would be, then you’ve committed the taxicab fallacy (which I hinted at above). This is an informal logical fallacy that says you cannot hop in and out of scenarios as you would a taxi… going from one place to another. If you are borrowing from the Christian worldview enough to postulate the devil, you must stay in that worldview and endure the answer.

My second response would be that since Satan is not served by morality, how do you account for all the morality in the world? … I mean… it’s everywhere… and it has been so throughout human history. It looks as though we humans were designed to connect with a good book, not an evil or a skewed one. In fact, Christians would easily sniff out such a book. But the skeptics’ assertion is that we are duped!

Now, I realize that there is plenty of immorality in the world, too… but take a breath. The only way we can identify a wrong or evil thing is through the moral compass that God put within us (Romans 2:14-15). As such, Satan would be ill-served by either giving us or activating our consciences. And don’t let the fact that immorality exists in the world throw you. Immorality is proof that morality exists because every culture differentiates between good and evil.

Concerning the skeptic’s claim, “Psychics can tell the future, and that could account for the success of biblical prophecy.” My response would be, “They don’t! Give me one example!” The lesson here is don’t let skeptics get by with just saying things. They may come up with one or two shaky examples of secular predictions that have come to pass, but we have documentation for our prophecies.

Sure… that documentation is in the Bible… and skeptics don’t believe that the Bible is God’s word. But that doesn’t matter. It’s still ancient documentation, and there is no debate that these prophecies have been known for thousands of years… and that they have been vetted by thousands of scholars and laymen… and that they have been given every chance for refutation… yet the biblical accounts persist as credible histories. By way of comparison, the skeptics have nothing!

J. Barton Payne’s Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy lists 1,239 prophecies in the Old Testament and 578 prophecies in the New Testament, for a total of 1,817. These encompass 8,352 verses… and that’s a lot of documentation! https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/318-how-many-prophecies-are-in-the-bible

So, we can give evidence of our assertions by presenting data. If the skeptic were lucky, he’d be able to come up with a few examples…. but not many more. So, never accept their assertions as the equivalent of meaningful data. That’s our trump card.

To the skeptic who says, “Non-Christian religions had miracles." I would ask him to please list them… and I bet he can’t! But we can list ours. Again, these biblical miracles have been vetted for thousands of years by thousands of people. So, just like the prophecies, we have the data!

Different people count the miracles different ways, but here’s a link to 125 of them that are well documented. https://christiananswers.net/dictionary/miracle.html

Remember, the task here is not to prove these miracles actually occurred. (People who do not subscribe to the Bible will not accept it as credible documentation.) This is just us telling them to put up or shut up in regards to their “list” of miracles from other religions.

Concerning your summation that “There is an idea out there that biblical Christianity is a plan of the devil. He wants to deceive everyone and keep them away from something else that’s true.” I would ask anyone to look at every imaginable element in existence — the created universe, metaphysics, philosophy, psychology, etc. — and ask which is the best explanation for all the data — the devil in charge of the word of God, or the Bible as the true representation of the human experience? I say the latter.

Concerning your question, “How would you respond to this to show the Bible is of an almighty, moral, perfect, God. That it is the Word of God. How do you defend its contents to show it's of God and not the enemy, that it's not a deception plan put together by evil but truth and life?”

Well, the vast majority of people who have negative opinions about the Bible never read it… and I mean have never read it as an earnest academic. Skeptics on the level of the ones you describe who are just flinging out ad hoc ideas are probably just repeating things they’ve heard from other sources, but there would be very few who have read the Bible contextually.

Not only do we lovingly read it, but we also have the indwelling Holy Spirit to help us… so we are not even on the same planet! These skeptics are like children on inner tubes — yelling and swearing at an ocean liner — trying to ruin your vacation. Don’t let them. They have no power to do so without your permission.

Concerning your question, “How would you respond to this to show that the Bible is of an almighty, moral and perfect God?” Be careful not to set the bar too high with a skeptic — but don’t get the wrong idea. We believers should have the highest respect for God’s word. But a reasonable person should change his mind when he is 51% convinced that something is true… so it’s not logical or reasonable to wait for “perfect” understanding of anything.

Concerning your question, “How would you defend it to show it's of God and not the enemy… that it's not a deception plan, but one put together by God for truth and life?” We know that the word of God is “truth and life” because we’ve experienced it… and I don’t think we can “teach” this per se. This is an area for testimony…. and this is why it’s important to maintain cordial relationships with skeptics.

You see, we can’t arm wrestle people into the kingdom of God. But we can tell them our story. We can give them the reason for the hope that is within us with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). Perhaps they will remember your light on some dark day when they come to grips with their own hopelessness. God works with all people through time.

You sound like a person who would welcome improving his understanding of God’s word. I highly recommend Dr. William Lane Craig’s teaching on God’s revelation in his Defenders series. I recommend that you listen to all ten teachings on this. It will raise you from a concerned believer to a well-informed believer. Here is the link:

https://www.reasonablefaith.org/podcasts/defenders-podcast-series-3/s3-doctrine-of-revelation/

Also, did you know there are several arguments for the existence of God that don’t involve the Bible? They just involve logic. This will be useful in your case because these skeptics are picking a fight with the Bible… but not with thinking in general… and here’s the thing: God is not a one trick pony. He also declares his existence in the physical universe and in the logic that we use to make sense of everything we think, see and say. I discussed four of these arguments in another question. I’ll include that link below:

http://www.mainsailministries.org/index.php/q-a-a-god-bible-theology-culture/43-extra-biblical-arguments-for-the-existence-of-god.html

I pray that all this helps you feel a little better about these skeptics.