Question: Isn’t using the Bible to prove the existence of God circular reasoning—like trying to prove Harry Potter really exists because he is in a book that says he’s real?
At first glance this sounds like a reasonable argument. However, the analogy of the Bible and God to the Harry Potter novels is unfortunate. The novels are works of fiction. The Bible and its human authors claim to represent communication directly from the living God. There is no analogy.
A better analogy to God and the Bible would be an email or text. In that case, the “document” claims to be from a certain individual that corresponds to the number or email address of the sender. Is it circular reasoning to assume that the sender exists because the communication claims the sender exists and has indeed sent the document? No: it is common sense.
The Bible makes certain claims about itself or, more accurately, God makes certain claims in the Bible as His Word to mankind. For example, speaking of the Bible, the apostle Peter wrote:
2Pet. 1:21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Likewise, the apostle Paul described all Scripture as “inspired,” an English word that translates a Greek phrase that literally means “God-breathed”:
2Tim. 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…
More than 3,800 times throughout the Bible the claim is made that it is “the Lord” who is communicating His word through specific individuals. The Old Testament prophet Amos describes hearing from God as being so compelling he can’t help but tell it to others:
Amos 2:8 The lion has roared—who will not fear? The Sovereign LORD has spoken—who can but prophesy?
Jeremiah tried to keep God’s word to himself because it was often painful:
Jer. 20:9 But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.
Like a text or email sent through a device, the Bible claims to be a communication from God sent through human intermediaries. The Bible does not attempt to prove God; rather, the existence of God is assumed, even as the existence of the sender of a text or email is assumed. God reveals Himself in the Scriptures as more than just a being that exists—even more than our Creator; He reveals Himself to be personal and deeply interested in us as the objects of His love:
Ps. 8:3-6 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet…