The Bible and its Critics – N.B. Hardeman

N.B. Hardeman

The Bible is either the word of God or it is the work of man. If the latter, it must be reduced to a common level and put on equal terms with books that are the product of human minds. More than that, it must sink to a place below the level of man-made books because, from beginning to end, it claims to be the word of God given by inspiration. It is the only book known to the world that makes such a claim and that has thus far withstood the attacks of all classes of opposition. Books and men are judged by their fruits. The Bible has done nothing but gootl wherever its influence has been exerted.

The Influence Exerted

It values life, liberty and property as things to be protected and enjoyed. It opposes avarice and greed and oppression in all of their forms. It teaches honor and fidelity in every relation of life. There is not a precept or a line in it that countenances vice and crime but, everywhere and at all times, it sustains the laws and calls for honorable conduct. It commands children to honor and obey their parents; it sanctions marriage and protects the home. It cares for the poor in distress; it honors womanhood and glorifies a good wife and mother. Within the lids of the Bible are found light and instruction for men in their single capacities and likewise for governments in their collective undertakings. A general acceptance of the word of God would usher in a state of personal and social happiness and strength such as the world has never known. Murder, arson, rape, robbery, perjury and every other mortal sin would vanish from the earth if its teachings were followed. It is indeed a monument of truth and wisdom.

It is strange that a book whose influence upon all classes and conditions of men has been good and only good throughout the passing centuries should encounter those who have put forth every effort to destroy its influence and to banish it from the face of the earth. This hatred may be due to the fact that the Bible does not give a glowing picture of the human family and does not suggest that man came into his present condemned estate through no fault of his own, but rather the reverse. It declares that men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. It, furthermore, holds men accountable for every act done in this body whether it be good or bad and pictures a judgment when all secrets will be revealed and final rendition of our eternal state delivered.

The Enemies Classed

The enemies of the Bible are numerous. First: the Agnostic—the one who says that he does not know whether there is a God or not. It is rather hard to exercise patience toward a full grown man who has never been able to form an opinion on a matter of this kind. Those who can reach definite conclusions regarding other matters seem wholly unable to form a decision on this subject with evidence overwhelming. They can dig into the old mounds supposedly built by Indians and there find some kind of a relic and from it, they can estimate the civilization of centuries gone by, and yet, they are totally blind to all the handiwork of a Creator. Just how anyone can find pleasure in taking from a human heart a living faith and a hope founded upon it and put in its place a cold and cheerless doctrine of “I do not know” is more than I can understand.

Second: the Atheist, who denies the existence of God and leaves all things as if they were the result of chance. He lives a negative life, denying all evidences that point to the existence of a supreme being. He goes out into a starless night without God and without hope of a life beyond the grave. But this class does little harm because real sober-minded men give but little attention to what they say.

Third: The Higher Destructive Critic, who seeks to remove the light of eternal Truth a little at a time until finally the world is left in total darkness. They are ever looking for some evidence or apparent contradiction that will rob the world of its faith and hope. These men are usually found in our universities and sometimes in our professed religious colleges. They deny the Sonship of Christ and they really believe that He was a bastard. They set aside all the miraculous and whatsoever does not harmonize with their process of reasoning.

The Fundamentals Denied

This kind of a Higher Critic is a close ally of the Evolutionist, which is today, possibly, the greatest menace to the church of our Lord. While many of them claim to have some regard for the Bible and are not brazen enough to deny it in full, they do not hesitate to reject the very foundation of all of our hallowed hopes and holiest desires. Those who teach in our schools supported by taxes imposed upon Christian parents will claim to believe the Bible, but they deny first: the inspiration of God’s book; second: the creation of men in the moral likeness of God; third: that man sinned and was lost; fourth: that Jesus was born of a virgin; fifth: that His blood atoned for sin; sixth: that He was raised from the dead; seventh: that He will come again and raise all the dead; eighth: That there will be a general judgment when the faithful will be rewarded and the wicked punished. This type of man would love to destroy the idea of appearing at the judgment seat of Christ.

The Bible, with these fundamentals rejected, is unworthy of serious consideration and offers no hope for a lost, ruined and recreant race. Let men say that the Bible is not true, if they will; that it is not inspired of God; that scholarship has proved it to be only a human, faulty, product made up of fable, legend and untrustworthy history; nevertheless, the Bible still stands as it will ever stand, the one great Book of God for all time, the book that is its own best defense, that can prove to any honest soul its own inspiration, that will not cease to speak for God, that cannot be taken away, that can ever protect the weak, direct the strong, bring joy and sunshine to the sorrowing, true happiness to the living, peace to the dying and light up the grave with the rainbow of hope.

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