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TAKEAWAYS

⇒Only a controlling God would not allow human perceptions recorded in the Bible

⇒The Bible is for reflection about God rather than a rules book to gain God’s favor

Many believe the Bible is without error regarding science or how God is portrayed when it comes to war or punishment. Keep in mind Genesis may not contradict science. The writers may not have intended parts of Genesis to be an exact literal report as opposed to a rendering to explain spiritual truths. A writer with knowledge of earth science available in their lifetime doesn’t make then a liar or all they have written is untrue. In the Bible’s defense, it is as historically reliable or more so than any ancient literature we take for fact such as Caesar’s Gallic Wars.

But, does the Bible claim infallibility because of one main verse: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16)? The word translated as God-breathed is greatly debated among scholars. This verse may not imply God controlled every word written; this verse can mean God approved of the writings of Israel’s history and Jesus’ life for reflection upon our relationship with our Creator. After Jesus left this earth in person, God’s Spirit than a Book is promised in discerning what God is really like (Jn. 14:16).

How would it work anyway if God controlled what was written?

No one argues that God verbally dictated the Bible. We don’t know exactly how OT authors writing “God said” differs from impressions and feelings one has about God. A uncontrolling God would give writers the freedom to misunderstand and grow in their understandings of God. Many books were written over time by several writers. What is inerrant – when the writer first spoke the words to their audience, when the writer recorded the words, when an editor(s) edited the original words, or finally when such recordings were gathered into a book?

Besides, a writer’s meaning is interpretation which we can’t claim is infallible or inerrant.

Claiming God only communicates what is good and perfect through a book such as the Bible or Koran has led to justifying immoral actions because of misinterpretations. Literature is interpretation and we often end up claiming our interpretation is God’s. The Bible or any book written in the past cannot be definitive ultimately of what is good, because the writer is not available for clarification and explanation.

How then can we determine what is truth if not according to some Book?

If you believe evil exist you believe morality exist. Our sense of obligation could result from the random collection of impersonal atoms over time, but it is also very plausible that such intuitions are the result of a moral Creator communicating to human beings. We know good from evil according to moral intuitions. Such intuitions can guide our reading and interpretation of literature.

Oh, so everyone’s opinion is right!

The text clearly cannot mean anything. Nations can establish laws because it is wrong to steal, murder, lie, or commit adultery because there is universal agreement on most moral matters. Some opinions are clearly wrong. Only extremists think disputes about supposed truth are more important than love. True religion doesn’t seek to be served but serve.

We don’t have to throw out the Bible just because a writer may be expressing an erroneous opinion of God at that time in their spiritual journey. God never intended a Book to take the place of a relationship with God and others but to be read reflectively. God wishes to influence our heart to make choices in the interest of ourselves and others in the long-run. We can always consider Jesus’ perspective when OT passages confuse us of what God is really like. Most agree Jesus is the most exact representation of God. Actions that don’t lead to loving your neighbor more are likely mistaken.

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