Q: Can the Bible be accepted as authoritative?
A: Questions as to whether the Bible can be accepted as authoritative all boil down to one basic question – who is Jesus?
This question cannot be addressed scientifically, because history is not repeatable and is thus not subject to testing by experimentation. Instead, it must be addressed by the methods we normally use to test the truth or falsehood of claims about people – the rules of evidence employed in courts of law. A great 20th-century writer, C. S. Lewis, pointed out that only 3 conclusions are tenable based on the evidence (both biblical and non-biblical) available to us. Either Jesus was a liar or a lunatic, or else He must be exactly what the Bible indicates He claimed to be – Lord of all.
If Jesus was a liar or a lunatic, there is no reason to accept the Bible as authoritative. If He is Lord of all, then the Bible must be authoritative, because He accepted the authority of the Old Testament, and told His first followers (who wrote down the New Testament) that His Spirit would guide them into all truth.
It is true that the entire Bible was written down by human beings – 40 of them, from all walks of life, over a period of about 1500 years. The remarkable unity of the result argues against the idea that they each recorded their own ideas. They themselves claimed their writings were inspired by a spiritual God whom they experienced personally. They understood the universe we all inhabit to have been created and now be governed by that God.
Today, the majority tendency is to believe that the physical universe is now sufficiently well understood that what the biblical writers recorded about it can be discounted. However, scientific understanding changes constantly – sometimes, radically. In previous centuries, great advances in scientific understanding resulted from the view that the universe is orderly and comprehensible, which was based on the Bible’s assertion that the entire universe was designed and is not a product of chance. That view was increasingly challenged during the 20th century, but now that challenge is itself increasingly being challenged! It is not unreasonable to project that another scientific revolution is now building which will bring scientific and biblical understanding back into closer harmony.