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The Bible: a confrontation between Christian thought and secular thought

In the epistle to Timothy, Paul affirms with certainty the origin of the Holy Scriptures. Thus he writes: “all Scripture is inspired of God, and useful to teach, to convince, to correct, to instruct in righteousness…” (2 Tim.3:16). And, because it is inspired by God, it is authoritative. Evangelical Christians affirm its absolute authority because it is the truth. The self-affirmation that the Bible is the word of God is told thousands of times. However, the secular world, for its part, does not accept such an assertion. Moreover, skeptics constantly question the authority and veracity of the Bible. In this world, filled with thousands of religions, where the Bible is not considered the only "sacred" document, how can Christians affirm that the Bible is the word of God? To question the authority of the Bible is to question the authority of God to which it testifies. And, when we talk about the notion of God, they always ask which god are we talking about since there are several according to religious traditions? For them, it is an ironic way of ridiculing the God of the Bible.
In current secular thought, dominated by atheistic philosophy, claiming to make science a secular domain, by evoking the non-necessity of involving God in the process of explaining the origin of the physical world - nature - The Bible, as well that the God whose creative power, justice and love it bears witness to, is not accepted as the sacred book inspired by God. Preferably, it is considered a compilation of myths that falls under the mythical documentary category of the ancient world. So to speak, because it is considered a mythical document, the God it proclaims cannot be true either. Thus, we are witnessing the brutal rejection of God by the secular world. In this same perspective of the rejection of God, the philosopher Nietzsche[1], in his criticism of nihilism, proclaimed the “death of God”. This expression refers to the end of idols (or the end of ideals) and the end of religious illusion. The death of God is also the death of the whole moral vision of the world based on the God of Christianity, which refers to the very collapse of Christianity, to the loss of the credibility of belief in this God. That said, the very basis of what makes Christianity strong is annihilated by the fact that growing doubt leads to questioning the moral foundation offered by the Bible. Nietzsche himself wrote:
The greatest recent event - the fact that “God is dead”, that belief in a Christian god has lost all credibility - is already beginning to cast its first shadow over Europe. To the few at least whose eyes, the suspicion their eyes dart, are strong and subtle enough for spectacle, it seems as if a sun has gone down, an ancient and deep trust has been overturned in doubt: our old world must seem to them every day more twilight, more suspicious, more foreign, more “old”[2]. 
Nietzsche mainly attacks Christianity because according to him it is the very heart of Nihilism. Indeed, idols (ideals), from the Nietzschean perspective, are lies invented by humanity that must be deconstructed because they distance us from reality. It is from the fundamental criticism of Christianity that he will also criticize all the other religious paradigms[3]. This assertion of the philosopher, with all that it sets up as a new system of thought, succeeded it, in the sense that this philosophical scope proposed another paradigm of thought according to which one can think the whole moral question of humanity without necessarily call on God. This idea of the non-existence of God or of a God invented by human beings as also thought by Karl Marx, as well as his perception of the Bible as a mythical book, dominates the secular thought of the current world significantly.
The secular world, as currently defined, is a demystified, despiritualized world where faith is replaced by reason. It is a natural world of which nothing, in terms of explanation, can be external to it. Such a perspective is not without influence on the way of seeing things. Thus we are witnessing the development of the naturalist tendency, which the German sociologist Max weber described by the notion of "disenchantment with the world" to analyze a world of another age according to which things can be explained without necessarily appealing to God. In this new perspective, this secular world is dominated by scientific rationality, which is hardly interested in the hypothesis of God according to what certain researchers such as Jacques Monod[4] and Stephan Hawking[5] maintain. In fact, this denial of recognition of the God of the Bible, from our point of view, is intrinsically linked to the sinful nature of mankind. Since the entry of sin into the world, men, in their situation of disobedience, blindness and their claim to knowledge, have always wanted to rebel and rebel continually against God. The whole history of humanity is woven from experiences of rebellion against God. Henry M. Morris and John D. Morris, in this same perspective, wrote that the  “rebellion against God – whether in terms of philosophical denial, active disobedience, or_cc781905-5cde-3194 -bb3b-136bad5cf58d_ careless negligence  –  is related, therefore ultimately to the spirit, to the Heart and the body deprived of the spiritual nourishment they need their offended creator[6]”. So to speak, in spite of the fact that God has visibly manifested himself to them, they unjustly hold the truth captive (Rom1:18).
Indeed, proceeding in this way constitutes an escape for them to continue to practice what seems normal to them without constraint, without nurturing the idea that they will have to account for their actions. The most convincing way to understand what we are saying is that they redefine the precepts, the fundamental rules of living together taught by the Bible. The notion of truth as well as that of good, evil, and the principle of human relations…become an individual and relative matter outside of any pre-existing meta-norm. The yardstick becomes the individual himself. We are in an unbridled relativism: everything is relative, nothing is absolute.
The idea of the death of God, advocated by Nietzsche, peddled by atheists, comes with the death of truth: in place of “Truth” are supplanted “truths”. So to speak, the truth, in its absoluteness, rigidity, clarity and permanence, is the victim of multiple interpretations. The objectivity of truth is the victim of a subjective atmosphere[7]. If, in the interests of postmodern logic, the claim is to destroy the whole idea of the absolute, it is, however, important to understand that we are in a world where the so-called dominant thought suffers from the pathology of “absolute” relativism. ”, identified in the suffix “isme”. Relativism is also the new dogmatist creed[8]. However, despite this overwhelming desire to dethrone the word of God as the truth by classifying it as a mythical work,  historical research as well as archaeological research proves the veracity of what substance it contains. Biblical characters are not mythical, but preferably real people who had existed in times past. Since God is truth, so is his word. Thus, to give answers against the atheistic allegations and to equip well the Christians who live in this present time, we want to present in this present study two groups of proofs: internal proofs, external proofs.
Regarding internal evidence, consider what the Bible says about itself. The self-affirmation of the Bible as inspired is significantly significant. Morris and Morris on this aspect pointed out that we find in the Old Testament only 2600 statements[9] in the texts of the Testament level, there are more than 320 quotations from the Old Testament and 1000 references to the latter [10].  It is important to know that this method is not only used by the Bible. Other fields of knowledge also use it. For example, the criteria of scientificity are defined and enacted by the sciences themselves. Scientists affirm the scientificity or non-scientificity of a phenomenon according to the internal principles established by their discipline. Any field of knowledge develops its own criterion of validity, defines its limit. However, the particularity between the Bible and science is that scientific truths are provisional, because what is true today may be false tomorrow, and they are called to be exceeded[11] while the Bible is eternal truth. It transcends time and space. It is neither influenced by the need for changes in sociopolitical movements nor by the desire to reinterpret the modern world, as modern theologians claim to do, in order to adapt it. The immutability of biblical truth is made clear by Peter when he could tell Christians, then under increasing persecution, that "the word of the Lord endures forever" (1 Peter 1:25). notice that when we speak of the immutability of the word of God, it must be understood in the sense of what it states as the content of truth. That said, even though it is clear that the Bible is the word of God , the registers used to transmit this truth are varied (literary genres) and circumscribed in cultural and geographical contexts.
As far as external evidence is concerned, some scientific research (archaeology, history, etc.) confirms the stories told by the Bible, by discovering places and material objects. Joseph Holdan and Norman Geisler mentioned the following:
Today, about 100 biblical figures, dozens of biblical cities and more than 60 historical details in the Gospel of John, 80 historical details in the book of acts of the apostles, among others, have been confirmed through archaeological and historical research. . Furthermore, Israel's antiquities authorities have possessed more than 100,0000 of the artifacts (discovered since 1949) which are available in their database for consultation[12].
For his part, Kenneth Anderson Kitchen, a specialist in Egyptology and a professor emeritus at the University of Liverpool, has written an important work on the reliability of the Old Testament. To carry out this research, he mobilized both the Hebrew Bible and many other external sources of the time in order to study the question of the reliability of the canonical Old Testament. It should be noted that the use of the quantity of independent sources is significant. First his first step was to identify the historical sequences, according to which they are documented in the Bible. He presented the historical time of the Old Testament in periods which are as follows: 1- primitive protohistory, 2- the patriarchs, 3- stay in Egypt and the exit, 4- installation in canaan, 5- united kingdom, 6- divided kingdom, 7- exile and return. According to Kitchen: “based on more than 90 documents this aforementioned sequence is consistent, reliable”[13]. In addition, in chapter 2 of his book, he devoted analytical time, focused on the last two fragments, to studying the stories told by the Bible about the kings who ruled over this people, comparing the data of the Bible (the books of King and Chronicles) and external sources[14].
After analyzing the reliable sources, the author comes to the conclusion that the historical data concerning the reigns of the kings documented in the books of Kings and Chronicles are reliable. This is not a myth as skeptics claim to support. Kitchen is not a "chambered" specialist who, from his office, invents the facts to confirm that the Bible is reliable. Nor is he a novelist who, being at home, imagines the facts to be written. On the other hand, mobilized history and archeology to study coldly the question of the reliability of the canonical Old Testament, his approach is subject to the methodological rigor of research. Thus in his own words he concludes his studies:
So therefore, at this point and without prejudice, as might be seen in other cases, the basic presentation of about 350 years of history of the two Hebrew kingdoms under the examination of the facts, revealed that this history is highly reliable, with the indication of their own kings and those of the foreigner who really existed at precise dates and shared the same history which coincided well,  when Hebrew and external sources are available [15].
Indeed, dialogue between the Bible and science is possible. Historically, this has never been a real problem. It was not until the 18th century that this opposition became clearly apparent. Those who claim that they are diametrically opposed are most often those who, having lived through an unfortunate personal experience such as the death of a loved one, a serious accident, develop a feeling of hatred against God, and who, therefore, in their supposedly scientific discourse, try to prove that science has a path contrary to that of God[16]. They also claim to argue that only science can rationally explain things, and that the Bible only tells a mythical story of the creation of the universe and what it contains. As a result, they oppose the rational to the myth, to support in conclusion that a scientist cannot be a Christian.
In fact, the history of science proves the opposite of what modern skeptics maintain. Scientists who contributed greatly to the development of physical science, some names of which we cannot ignore such as Kepler, Galileo, Descartes, Newton believed that the universe was created by God[17]. Science does not actually oppose the truth of God's word. The Bible reveals that God is the creator of the universe and science, for its part, explains how this universe works. God did not create a universe without laws. Indeed, science discovers the laws allowing the functioning of this universe. These regulate the stability of the latter as God intended. John Lennox attacks Hawking who claimed that the universe was created by the laws of nature to say that there can be no laws of nature without nature. The nature object must first exist in order to then explain how this object functions. The laws of nature explain how nature works under certain conditions, but they do not explain who created nature[18]. So to speak, between God who created the Universe, according to what the Bible reports, and the discovery of the principles of operation of this universe by science, there is no possible place of contradiction. The stories told by the Bible are verified by science. John Macarthur affirms that "true science has always affirmed the teaching of Scripture. Archaeology, for example, has repeatedly demonstrated the truth of biblical data".[19]
So to speak, this opposition defined by certain skeptical scientists between science and the Bible is not entirely relevant when we do the history of science. We must do justice to these great Christian scientists who have greatly contributed to the development of scientific research.  Opposing the God of the Bible on the basis of scientific knowledge is fraud. You may not want to believe that Scripture is the word of God, you may rebel and even feel personal rage against God; but to do so on the basis of the triumph of science or philosophy has nothing to do with objectivity. The Christian God is not mythical, but real. Now the legitimate question to ask would be: how can we be sure that God is real? To give a quick but clear answer, we would say that God reveals himself to mankind throughout history by choosing a people and most specifically in Jesus Christ, God incarnate. Everything we are upholding  is documented in the bible which claims to be the word of God and as a historical document has been tested and confirmed, time and time again, by_cc781905 -5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_ history and archeology[20]. 

Vice President of Standing 4 Christ Ministry

Writer, researcher


Bibliographic references

[1] To tell the truth, the philosopher Nietzsche starts from a new approach to Nihilism. If according to current language, explains Luc Ferry in the presentation of this author's work (CD-ROM), the Nihilist is someone who believes in nothing, he is a cynic. However, from the perspective of Nietzsche, this notion is apprehended as the fact of having ideals in the name of which one measures things, one judges events, one analyzes realities. According to him, ideals are invented in order to deny reality, to minimize reality. It's a way of saying that the real is worth nothing. It is also in the name of these ideals that we want to improve the world. Christianity, communism, to name but a few, are carriers of nihilism of which the philosopher speaks. He calls these ideals idols. So Nietzsche's goal is to deconstruct them. Thus, starting from this, he criticizes, as we have just seen, Nihilism. Nietzsche's very objective is to deconstruct these idols with his philosophical hammer. Thus, in the twilight of idols, in which he makes it his mission to deconstruct ideals, he attacks, for example, the teaching of Christ and his church. In the subtitle, “Morality as manifestation against nature”, this is what he wrote: “Formerly, because of stupidity in passion, we made war on passion itself: we conjured up to annihilate it, - all the ancient moral judgments agree on this point, “one must kill the passions”. The most famous expression of it is found in the New Testament, in that Sermon on the Mount, where, by the way, things are not seen from a height at all. It is said there for example with application to sexuality: “if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out”: fortunately no Christian acts according to this precept. To destroy the passions and the desires, only because of their stupidity, and to prevent the unpleasant consequences of their stupidity, this seems to us today only to be an acute form of stupidity […] we will admit on the other hand, with some reason, that, on the ground where Christianity has developed, the idea of a “spiritualization of passion” could not at all be conceived (, The twilight of the idols, Morality as a manifestation against nature, 1, in Friedrich Nietzsche Works (preface by Patrick Wotling), Mille et une page collection, Paris: Flammarion, 2000, pp.1049-1050.

[2] Gai Savoir, Fifth book, 434, in Nietzsche, Works, op.cit., p.253

[3]To better understand Nietzschean thought, consult Luc Ferry, Nietzsche: the philosophical work explained [CD-ROM], coll. Lectures (cd), 3 vol., Paris: Fremeaux et Associés, 2008.

[4] In Christian Bourgois and Dominique De Roux (Sld), epistemology and Marxism, Paris: 10/18, 1972.

[5] John C. Lennox, God and Stephen Hawking, Oxford, Lion, 2014.

[6] The modern creation trilogy: Scripture and creation, vol. 1, 2nd ed, Masterbooks, 2004, P.109.

[7] This tendency to put everything into perspective is its Achilles' heel. The truth remains the truth, regardless of how we perceive it.  

[8] It should also be remembered that even within Christianity we find controversial thoughts around biblical truthfulness. Some theologians, contaminated by the thought of errors, have not believed the entire Bible entirely. Certain parts of the Bible, which Christ and the apostles referred to as historical facts, are interpreted differently from the non-allegorical passages, as being allegorical.

[9] Morris and Morris III, Many infallible proofs, rev. and exp., Green Forest: Master Books, 2015, p.166.

[10] Morris and Morris III, Op.Cit. p.168.

[11] For a more detailed study of this aspect of science, see  Max Weber, Le savant et le politique, Paris: 10/18, 2002 (1959); Karl Popper, Objective knowledge (translated from English and prefaced by  Jean-Jacques Rosat) nouv.ed, coll. Field trials, Paris: Flammarion, 2009; Robert K. Merton, Elements of Theories and Sociological Method (translated from the Americans and adapted by Henry Mendras), 3 ed., Paris: Armand Colin / Mass, 1996.

[12] Joseph M. Holden, Norman Geisler, The popular handbook of archeology and the Bible, Eugene: Harvest House publishers, 2013, p181..

[13] KA Kitchen, On the reliability of the Old Testament, Michigan/Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans publishing Company/Grand Rapids, 2003, 4.

[14] In a table, Kitchen presents the kings of the two kingdoms (Israel and Judah), giving the biblical references and the independent or external sources which mention both these same kings and the time of their reign. Op.Cit., pp.8-9.

[15] KA Kitchen, Op.cit., p 64. We can also consult the works of Joseph M. Holden and Norman Geisler, Op.Cit.,  pp.283-289.

[16] This says that they place a responsibility on science that has nothing to do with what they call the rules of scientificity. Indeed, by a so-called scientific cover, they express in the deepest way their personal emotion, their disappointment with what they understood or hoped for from God. When we do what specialists call the sociology of knowledge, which allows us to study the living conditions of those who produce scientific reflections, we realize above all that personal experiences have a lot to do with the explanation, the interpretation of the facts. The facts in themselves are objective (the universe, the human being, death…), but the interpretations of the latter can be imprinted with a personal conclusion linked to personal experiences. When we read the personal stories of famous scientific skeptics like Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche, we come to the conclusion that skeptics are rebels against God who seek at all costs under the hats of science and philosophy to disapprove the truth of the word of God. This leads to say, in fact, that the personal experience of the person who practices science is not insignificant in the conclusion of certain research results. However, we believe that there is a possibility of an objectification in scientific practice which, when the one who applies it is honest, does not allow arriving at immature conclusions. Science has its limits. It will never come, as a product of the imperfect human mind, to study the perfect nature of God. As finite knowledge, science will not be able to study the essence of the Eternal God in the laboratory. Only this God can reveal himself to men who themselves construct science as a method of investigation to understand reality. And besides, he has already revealed himself through his works which are both the universe and the human being.

[17] See John C. Lennox,  Loc. Cit.

[18] John C. Lennox, Op.cit, pp. 29-46.

[19] John MacArthur, The Battle for the beginning, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2001, p.28.

[20] KITCHEN, KA, Op.Cit; HOLDEN, Joseph M., Norman GEISLER, Op.Cit.
















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