Defining “Insider Information”
Without looking, could you describe the contents of your wallet or purse? Of course you could, being familiar with your wallet or purse makes you privy to information that few others have. Let’s call this “insider information.”
We use this kind of information to establish connections between people and objects or events. For example, a murderer might have insider information about where a weapon or body is buried, a programmer might have insider information about his code, and you might have insider information about the items in your home.
What’s in your wallet?
So imagine you were a school principal and you found a wallet containing $260 and no ID. You announce the discovery and a student comes in to claim it. How do you know it’s really his? Simple — you ask him to describe it. Anyone familiar with the wallet will immediately be able to tell you what it looks like and what’s inside.
But what if the student says, “It’s rectangular, dark in color, and has money in it.” Would you give him the wallet? No, because this information is too vague and anyone else could make the same claim.
But what if he then went on for several hours, singing songs and telling stories about how awesome his wallet was and how much he loves it? These songs and stories might be quite entertaining, but they provide little evidence connecting him to the wallet.
What if things got really weird, and he insisted, “My reputation as a fortune-teller and miracle worker should validate me as the owner!” These strange attempts to gain credibility are unrelated to, and much more difficult than, simply describing his wallet.
Just then, a teacher pops in and asks, “Is it a brown leather wallet from Old Navy? With $260 and a Chase ATM slip dated 2/15 for account #302939?”
And that’s it! That’s all it would take. In just a couple sentences, the teacher established an almost undeniable connection to his property, which was easy, because he was intimately familiar with it. He didn’t need to tell long stories, or sing songs, or perform miracles, or make up excuses, or tell the future — he just needed to have an insider’s knowledge of the wallet.
Likewise, with just a couple of sentences, the Bible’s authors could establish a connection between God, creation, and the Bible.
Sometimes, it’s what you don’t say that makes all the difference
If men wrote the Bible, we would expect it to be limited to the knowledge of the time. However, if God inspired the Bible, He should be able to easily provide some inside information.
For example, God might give clear descriptions of things that had not yet been discovered when the Bible was written, things like DNA, microorganisms, cells, billions of galaxies, the Americas, the rotation of the earth, black holes, etc.
One wonders how God could even tell the story of creation and NOT mention billions of galaxies, or how the sun was just another star, or how the earth rotates and orbits the sun.
For the non-believer, these omission make perfect sense, because God is not the author. But the believer must find a way to excuse God for His inability or unwillingness to divulge insider information.
The excuses I’ve come across include:
1) The Bible does contain insider information!
As a Christian, I was taught that the Bible contained many science facts, and I even read Ray Comfort’s book on 100 of them.
Later, I learned the Quran also contained hundreds of scientific facts. To be honest, both Christians and Muslims seemed to be applying extremely liberal interpretations of their texts. I don’t think it’s possible to discredit one claim without simultaneously destroying the credibility of the other. (I’ll cover some of the best claims in future questions.)
2) Science didn’t exist, so they couldn’t talk about it.
Do you need knowledge of science to describe the contents of your purse or wallet? Of course not. Likewise, the Bible’s authors didn’t need to know anything about Science to say things like:
- “And God created a great many great clusters of stars, and placed them at great distances from one another, so far away that most cannot be seen.”
- “And around many of the stars in each cluster, he placed a great many planets.”
- “And in one of these clusters, around one of its stars, God placed our round planet, and he caused it to move around the sun in an oval path.”
- “And God caused the Earth to spin, so that when one side experienced day, the other side experienced night.”
- “Then God filled our planet with many forms of life, life that even lives upon you, and inside of you!”
- “And God made a giant land mass to the west. Just cross the ocean and you’ll find it. (Really — you can’t miss it.)”
And there are countless other examples that God could have given to us to confirm he was the author of creation, without getting technical.
3) The information wasn’t necessary to our salvation.
This statement also implies that what did make it into the Bible is essential to our salvation, or at least more important than anything else that could’ve been written.
For example, God didn’t waste words on statements like “Cover your mouth when you cough,” because it was less important than, say, describing the color of the pomegranates that should adorn the trim of the priestly garments.
Are priestly fashions are more important to God than human suffering?
4) It would destroy our faith
Why would God be concerned with the faith depriving side-effects of sharing insider information, but not the faith depriving side-effects of prophecies, miracles, and Jesus? Showing up in person, walking on water, and raising folks from the dead isn’t exactly the behavior of a god who’s trying to lay low. Why is it okay for God to do these things, but not share a little inside information? Is it, dare I say, because it’s easier to fake other such evidence than it is to come up with real insider information?
Without some kind of insider information, how do we validate the claims of one story against another? Just like the two men who both laid claim to the wallet, we have many religions claiming to hold the truth. We need some evidence to help us sort out the true claims from the false ones.
Insider information would make for a much better “signature of God” than miracles that leave no lasting evidence and some highly questionable prophecies.
While this isn’t definitive proof that God didn’t inspire the Bible, the lack of “insider information” is exactly what we’d expect from a book written by men. Like the student above, the absence of any insider information makes me suspicious that the Bible is not written by the entity responsible for creating the Universe.