We do not have evidence that God supernaturally controlled the minds and words recorded by the writers of the Bible. Such a thought is contrary to God’s uncontrolling nature. God gave the writers freedom as God does all people, thus the writers initially could have recorded their misunderstandings what God is really like. Is the Bible useful then?
How would God provide an infallible book anyway?
Let’s suppose that God did perform a lobotomy and control the minds of the writers so they understood God perfectly and not impacted by personal or cultural influences. Any book, whether the Quran or the Bible, is subject to interpretation thus why scholars differ on what the Bible says about divorce, gender roles, homosexuality, hell, end-of-the world views, etc. No one can guarantee their interpretations are infallible. We don’t always know when a passage speaking on a subject doesn’t state exceptions. Jesus isn’t advocating domestic violence when advising to turn the other cheek. Suggesting God only communicates through a Book is unlikely as the Bible hasn’t been available to the majority of people born into this world.
How can we know God if not through an infallible book?
This question may be nonsensical to those who didn’t grow up hearing the Bible was God’s infallible words to humankind. Ancient literature can’t be infallible since subject to interpretation. God though may communicate more clearly than given credit for. Who doesn’t believe in evil? Our moral outrage hints of a personal external force communicating through our moral intuitions that lead to outrage. We intuitively know how to be in family, work, and other relationships. Who doesn’t know we should treat others like we want to be treated. Most believe a Creator or Supreme Being must be perfect to claim to be God. The Bible never suggests two “perfect” standards. God and human perfection are exactly the same, which most intuitively know a lot about.
Why did God bother to encourage the Bible if subject to misrepresentations?
2 Timothy 3:16-17 is the passage most used to defend the Bible’s infallibility: “All Scriptures is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking…in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). God-breathe can mean God desired a recording of coming alongside Israel climaxing in the life of Jesus in getting to know what God is really like. Jesus said the OT pointed to His arrival (Lk. 24:27,44) rather than claiming the OT writers knew God perfectly. God used the nation of Israel, the Bible, and Jesus to enter our world in hopes to influence all toward living a life without regrets.
What are consequences of assuming the Bible is infallible?
People understandably may reject God because many actions contributed to God are contrary to morally accepted behaviors. Moses claims God ordered during war killing boys and non-virgin women but saving for yourselves virgins (Num. 31:18). Such immorality in the name of God has led others to justifying their actions in God’s name or led to many rejecting such a God. The Bible can be used selectively to justify almost any belief. Moral intuition differences can lead to discussions; interpretation differences often lead to control because supposedly such understandings are the voice of God.
How can our interpretation differences be handled?
We can more carefully distinguish between personal and moral matters. We cannot argue on moral grounds debatable understandings of God according to some Book. Thievery or abuse is wrong because all would object being stolen from or abused. Actions violating one’s physical safety are obviously moral. Political decisions such as health care or taxes do not violate one’s physical rights. Two consenting adults choosing to enter a heterosexual or homosexual relationship are not violating anyone’s safety. Legal definitions of marriage could be resolved by democratic vote than resorting to dogmatism in God’s name or violence. Essential truths about a loving and caring God are obvious, but those who value the Bible would surely agree that OT writers did not have the same authority as Jesus. Jesus’ views of God were surely more perfect. Do your interpretations lead more to treating others how you would wish to be treated when disagreeing.
Are Old Testament authors false prophets for recording false portrayals of God?
A false prophet is different than an imperfect, sincere prophet. False prophets intentionally lie and act in unloving, controlling ways regarding beliefs. A false prophet in the Bible would be one who believed in God but denied God to justify their evil, selfish ways. True religion doesn’t seek to be served but to serve.
Why doesn’t God communicate more directly?
God’s invisibility can be out of uncontrolling love than cruelness. God’s overpowering presence in our lives may only lead to consuming guilt or brief obligations to obey. God’s lack of interference may allow moral development to make heart-felt, lasting choices. God in person through Jesus’ miracles did not obtain the results suggested if God would stop hiding. God though may communicate more clearly than we realize through common universal moral intuitions we all seem to have. The biblical writers are no different that we are as humans. Beliefs are not life-changing if dictated rather than freely chosen.
How can the Bible be useful then?
It is unlikely God intended the Bible to be any more than a book for reflection in getting to know God better. God never intended a Book to take the place of a relationship with God and others. The Bible was never meant to be a story controlled by God. God got involved with the nation of Israel so they and we, by reading of their journey, begin to discover what God is truly like. The Bible was never mean to be a magical book of rules rather than a book for reflections in one’s individual circumstances. The Bible at least tell us that God wanted to come down to be with us in becoming more the person we deep down desire to be. We can come to a better understanding of God with the Bible than without the Bible, depending on our assumptions about the Book.