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2.2.4.5 - How to Respond?

What are we, as believers in the Scriptures, to think about these attacks? First, we should realize that the Scriptures have not come down to us over thousands of years by accident. For generations, countless lives have been spent and even lost to preserve them and uphold their important message. When faced with the many criticisms of the skeptics, we need to ask whether the idea of the critic is viable in light of the number of people who have accepted the book of Daniel at face value.

It seems amazing how such a conglomeration of absurdities, such a congeries of impossibilities, should have befooled both Jew and Christian alike for 2000 years or more! Why could not their learned men at least have seen that such things were impossible? And if they are impossible, and if no proof is needed to show this impossibility, why is it that millions to–day . . . should still believe them possible?1

Second, the more one becomes acquainted with the criticisms, the more one will notice a pattern of subjective variation and lack of consensus among the conclusions of the skeptics.

[There is] great divergence of opinion regarding the questions of integrity and authorship, and, by implication, the date of the book or its supposed parts. This very situation is unfortunately self-defeating, for as Rowley has pointed out, if there is so little consensus of opinion as to which were the earlier parts, it is difficult to have much confidence in the method whereby these varying results were reached.2

Critics have raised textual problems almost without number in relation to the book of Daniel; but they have also contradicted each other, testifying to the subjective character of these criticisms.3

This is one of the purposes of the Policy of Inoculation. By exposing the student to the basic criticisms and responses, he is better equipped to see how subjective and varied the critics are in their approach to Daniel.

Third, although the believer must never decouple faith from reason, he must realize that God has chosen faith—not intelligence, not academics, not influence, not any other thing—as the sole dividing line between those who are His and those who are in the kingdom of Satan (Mat. 12:30; Luke 11:23). We will encounter many in our sojourn here on earth who surpass us in ability, including intelligence and academics. But where they lack faith, expect either outright or latent hostility to God’s revelation. We find many of the critics of Daniel among these intelligent enemies of God who lack faith. It is not so much reason preventing their acceptance of Daniel, but an inability and unwillingness to trust God in areas where information is incomplete or contradictions appear to exist. On the other hand, for we who accept Scriptural revelation as God’s Word to mankind, faith is the highest act of our reason.4

The difficult truth is that God’s Word requires a faith-response on the part of the reader. Those who respond in faith will be shown more. Those who lack faith and respond as scoffers will be hardened in their rejection (Mat. 13:12; Mark 4:24-25). Thus, we find purposeful design in the Scriptures admitting of either interpretation: carefully crafted interrelationships providing evidence of supernatural origin to the people of faith, mixed with apparent contradictions (so-called “Bible difficulties”) which, when considered superficially, provide evidence of the falsehood of God’s Word to the skeptic. Those who respond in faith admit that they are “blind” because there is much they do not yet understand, whereas those who scoff are generally self-assured in their analysis and rejection of what to them are obvious Scriptural blunders. Jesus mentioned how this spiritual principle works: “And Jesus said, ‘For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.’ ” (John 9:39)

Finally, as followers of our Lord, we can have no lower view of Daniel then our Master (Mat. 24:15; Mark 13:14), “To the Christian the Book is accredited by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; and in presence of this one fact the force of these criticisms is dispelled like mist before the sun.”5

Notes

1 Robert Dick Wilson, Studies in the Book of Daniel (New York, NY: G. P. Putnams & Sons, The Knickerbocker Press, 1971), 285-286.

2 Roland K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament (Peabody, MA: Prince Press, 1969, 1999), 1109.

3 John F. Walvoord, Daniel: The Key to Prophetic Revelation (Chicago, IL: Moody Bible Institute, 1971), 22.

4 “The proof that the voice is really Divine must be absolute and conclusive. In such circumstances, skepticism betokens mental or moral degradation, and faith is not the abnegation of reason, but the highest act of reason.”—Robert Anderson, The Coming Prince, 10th ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1894, 1957), 11.

5 Ibid., xliii.


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