From Dan Hayden’s book, DID GOD WRITE THE BIBLE?
The Bible is not the brilliant product of human genius; it is an orchestrated composition that reflects a Divine composer. Moses lays a magnificent foundation. David is a master of poetry. Isaiah charms us with his prophetical insight. Paul leaves us breathless with his doctrinal prowess. Yet the Bible is the product of none of these men as a single author impressing his thoughts upon the whole of the book. Nor is it an anthology of disconnected writings. There is a thread of continuity and an overwhelming sense of unity that has us looking for a transcendent composer worthy of such a masterpiece.
Think of the Bible as a great symphony: a variety of instruments playing in harmony with the others to perform a complicated score of multiple themes and movements that incorporate moods of tranquility and excitement eventuating in a surge of power to the finale. This doesn’t just “happen.” It speaks of design. And where there is design, there is a designer. The instruments all play their parts, but a single voice is heard above them all: the message and passion of the composer-conductor. It is his work, though it is played through the instrumental voices of others.
Consider the comments of Peter Gutmann as he describes the genius of Beethoven in his Fifth Symphony:
Talk about a great hook! Three quick G’s and a long E-flat… could be the most memorable musical phrase of all time…. But that’s just the first five seconds.
…The first movement is grim and resolute yet charged with constant conflict and energy as glimmers of hope swirl through a relentless storm. It’s a miracle of construction, with all the ideas firmly grounded in that first four-note phrase… The focused intensity is relieved by a flowing set of variations, leisurely but with controlled surges of power. Next comes a resolute march built largely upon the insistent rhythm of the opening motif which descends into a hushed section of coiled tension and then explodes into the finale, an exhilarating shout of C-major triumph… The work ends in a breathless coda built upon variants of the opening motif to pound home the permanence of the joyous destination.1
This analysis of one of the world’s greatest symphonies is parallel to a description of the world’s most magnificent book—the Bible. Scripture opens with a memorable phrase that leaves us wide-eyed in amazement: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). The cosmologies of the ancient world never hinted at such a thing.
Then the thunderous voice of God rumbles out of the wide expanse of nothing and says, “Let there be…” and the universe spins into being. Seven variations on the opening theme emerge one from the other as marvelous revelations of creation unfold one day at a time. This introductory theme reaches its climax as a man and woman appear for the first time, having been fashioned in the very image of God Himself. It is the crowning achievement of God to which everything else is subservient, and we hear God say, “It is good.”
But that’s just the first chapter.
Immediately, ominous clouds roll in upon the Garden of Eden as the newly created humans dare to exercise their independent wills against the sovereign God. The story is now in a minor key as beauty morphs into chaos. The first murder, the first act of polygamy, the first death—all appear in staccato bursts, leaving us devastated in our seats.
Then the dam of God’s judgment breaks, and a deluge of churning water engulfs the planet. Our hopes are pinned on one family and an assortment of animals bobbing on the surface in a large boat. As the waters recede into the ocean basins, suddenly a rainbow graces the sky, and the sweet strings of God’s mercy calm our souls. That is how the Bible begins.
The Bible is a single story from beginning to end. From the “Book of Beginnings” (Genesis) to the apocalyptic conclusion (Revelation), we learn that God is a God of love and grace who nevertheless passes judgment on all who spurn His benevolent gift. Great epochs of history are tied together by recurring covenantal themes as God binds Himself by promise and oath to a faithful remnant. A messianic hope overrides each movement of the story, which finds its climax in the New Testament Gospel record. A Savior is born, lives a righteous life, dies an unjust death, and rises from the dead as the ultimate hope of humanity.
Time is given for mankind to respond to God’s loving overture of salvation as New Testament apostles clarify the melody of the Old Testament theme. Then from an island in the Aegean Sea emerges the finale of the Revelation as seals and trumpets and vials build in a crescendo. The Lord descends from heaven in majestic glory, and the paradise of Eden is restored to Planet Earth. As Peter Gutmann says of Beethoven’s Fifth, it “explodes into the finale, an exhilarating shout of C-major triumph.”
From the pianissimo of Eden’s garden to the allegro fortissimo of Armageddon, the Scriptures blend a variation and complexity of movements and moods into a grand concert of exquisite composition. The symphonic nature of the book argues for a single composer with a divine touch.
Dan Hayden’s book, Did God Write the Bible? has been enthusiastically used as a tool for college-age students.
1 Peter Gutmann, “Classical Notes”, www.classicalnotes.net/classics/fifth.html © 1998-2001