Many assume that the biblical writers always understood God perfectly in the beginning rather than possibly growing in their understanding. Regardless, even if assumed the Bible is infallible in characterizing God, we can’t understand God perfectly according to a Book because literature requires interpretations which aren’t infallible. Scholars disagree what the Bible says about divorce, gender roles, homosexuality, hell, etc. Unfortunately, many reject God because of supposed definitive portrayals of God according to the Bible.
There are two basic viewpoints about God’s role in Scriptures.
The Bible records thousands of times “The Lord says…” This isn’t verbal communications but impressions writers had about God. God either controlled the writers’ thoughts to perfectly represent God, or OT writers were influenced by surrounding cultures where it was sacrilegious to not speak of God being all-powerful and controlling. This may explain why violent warfare is contributed to God. An uncontrolling God cannot guarantee a perfect Book, but God can enter our world with the communications means available so we can grow in our understanding what God is really like.
Assumptions determine how we understand when reading God ordered killing boys and non-virgin women but sparing virgins (Num. 31:18).
Did God really expect young woman to watch their mothers, sisters, and brothers murdered by men who one day may expect marriage or sex? Did God really approve of capital punishment for rebellious children, adulterers, or those involved in witchcraft (Lev. 20)? God is said to think in war killing all the men, women, children, infants, and animals is moral (I Sam. 15:3).
If biblical writers and prophets didn’t always understand God perfectly, is there any hope for us?
We have the benefit of reading the experiences of beginnings with God as we read Scriptures. Too, biblical writers over time gain new understandings of God. Later writers after the OT laws recorded God preferred contrite hearts over animal sacrifices (Ps. 51:16-17, i.e. Jer. 7:22, Amos 5:21, Micah 6:6). Important, lasting convictions cannot be coerced but freely chosen. Many OT laws and views of God could have originated from assumptions that God was like all the other gods in OT cultures. We will discuss later how certainty about God isn’t the end-all one might think.
In This Series Of Posts:
- How Can We Know God If An Infallible Book About God Doesn’t Exist?
- Since The Bible Can Be Misunderstood, What Isn’t God More Direct?
- What Are Dangers In Assuming The Bible Is Infallible?
- Is Certainty About God All Good And Uncertainty About God All Bad?
- How Can We Read The Bible?
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