CROP CIRCLES are one of the more bizarre phenomena of the modern age. They have been reported all over the world, but the majority of them appear during the months of July and August in the county of Wiltshire in the UK. They are huge geometric patterns which appear in standing crops. Some have measured 300 metres across, they appear without warning in the short hours of summer darkness, and they are sometimes breathtakingly beautiful.
There are many theories about their origin. They are attributed to extraordinary weather phenomena, or anomalies in the earth’s magnetic field, or reflections on the ground of the collective unconscious, or aliens. The most likely explanation of course is human pranksters. Over the years various individuals and groups have claimed the credit for them, but it’s a fact that the most intricate examples still defy explanation. So for now they remain a mystery.
What is your attitude when you come up against something you can’t explain? Some find it unnerving, some will ignore it or try to deny it. But others rise to the challenge and set out to find the answer.
A Supernatural Phenomenon
There is a phenomenon which throughout its existence has baffled and startled those who have come into contact with it. It is the Bible. There are many features of this unique book which defy natural explanation. Perhaps the most powerful evidence of the Bible’s supernatural authority is the way it predicts the future. Around a quarter of the Bible is concerned with prophecy, much of which has already been fulfilled in remarkable detail. In particular, many prophecies concern the nation of Israel, which God refers to as a witness to His existence:
“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he” (Isaiah 43:10).
There are prophecies about their destruction by the Babylonians which would last precisely 70 years (Jeremiah 25:8–14); their return to their land under Cyrus the Persian (Isaiah 44:28–45:6); the destruction of the nation by the Romans (Luke 21:20–24); and its re-establishment in the ‘latter days’ (Ezekiel 38:8).
Jesus Christ is at the very centre of the Bible message, and there are at least 200 Old Testament prophecies which concern him. Almost every aspect of his life was predicted beforehand, for example his ancestry (Isaiah 11:1); where he was born (Micah 5:2); the preparatory work of John the Baptist (Malachi 3:1); Jesus’ ministry in Galilee (Isaiah 9:1–2); his betrayal by a close friend (Psalm 41:9); his self-sacrifice for the sins of his people (Isaiah 53); the precise manner of his death (Psalm 22); and his resurrection (Psalm 16:10–11).
Another powerful evidence that the Bible is no ordinary book is the information it contains. It does not claim to be a scientific treatise, but there are numerous incidental indications that the Mind behind it possessed a knowledge of the world that was far better than any people at the time it was written. For example it mentions that living things are grouped into distinct species (Genesis 1:11–12, 21–25); that the world is round (Job 26:7), and that rain is always accompanied by an electrical discharge in the cloud (Psalm 135:7).
Then there are the advanced public health measures prescribed in the Law of Moses, such as strict sanitation (Deuteronomy 23:12–14); personal hygiene (Leviticus 15:13); treatment of contaminated objects (Leviticus 11:33), and quarantine (Leviticus 13:46).
What do you think of this? Will you dismiss it? Is it all just coincidence, or a big fabrication? Maybe you think it’s pretty interesting, in the same way as you may think crop circles are pretty interesting, but not particularly relevant to your life.
The Word of God
But the fact is, the Bible makes a very bold claim for itself: it claims to be the message of God to the world. ‘For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit’ (2 Peter 1:21).
Talking to the philosophers of Athens who had called him to their meeting because they liked hearing about new stuff and his message struck them as intriguing, the Apostle Paul was keen to shake them out of their complacency:
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead (Acts 17:30–31).
The Bible is not just an interesting book. It is a personal message to you and me from our Creator. Jesus Christ died for our sins, rose from the dead, and will return to earth as judge. Are you sufficiently interested to look into it?