I have posted about the Bible ad nauseam recently. I am always trying to express a viewpoint better. Recently, I did a series of intentional, brief Posts concerning questions surrounding the issue of the Bible’s infallibility. I now intend to answer each question in a slighter longer Post after this introductory Post. The subject is important because many form views of God from the Bible. It matters whether we read the Bible with a questioning and open spirit or with blind obedience.
Since the Bible was not dictated by God, did God somehow control the understandings of the writers recorded? It would be more typical that writers could be influenced by personal and cultural factors, so they might need to grow in their understanding of God. In OT times is was sacrilegious to not speak of God as being all-powerful and controlling even through violence. Regardless, it is often not acknowledged we must read the Bible with an open spirit anyway, because literature requires interpretations which aren’t necessarily infallible.
How could we prove God provided an infallible Bible anyway?
Many who accept the Bible being infallible would not accept the Quran being infallible because it claims to be. It is circular logic to suggest the Bible is infallible because biblical writers claim it is infallible. Even if possible to prove infallibility, God’s freedom-giving nature doesn’t support God performing a lobotomy on OT writers. Besides, the Bible can’t be an authoritative or definitive guide of what God is like because literature requires interpretations which aren’t infallible.
How can we know God if not through an infallible Book?
Moral laws such as stealing, lying, or committing adultery that reside in all of us hint of a common, human Creator’s influence through our moral intuitions. We all have a sense of how we “ought” to treat our family and friends, knowing something is amiss when our actions don’t lead to loving others as we wish to be loved. God never intended we dismiss our moral consciences when reading beginnings with God in discerning what God is like and hopes for us. The Bible wouldn’t be God’s main communication anyway, because the majority born into this world never had a copy.
Why doesn’t God communicate clearly since the Bible can be misunderstood?
The fact that we experience moral outrage and can agree on laws against murder, theft, or abuse suggests a Creator’s influence. God’s overpowering presence in our lives may only lead to consuming guilt or fearful obligations to obey. Beliefs are seldom life-changing or lasting if coerced than freely chosen. Besides, supposed certainty rather than open-minded uncertainty often leads to forcing personal convictions on others in God’s name.
What are dangers in assuming a Book such as the Bible is infallible?
The possibility of an infallible Book has led down the slippery slope of supposed infallible interpretations. Possible fallible books can’t hide behind infallible interpretations. Literature always requires interpretation and we could be wrong. Moral laws are obvious. Different opinions can stand side by side as we continually evaluate the most loving approach, rather than forcing our opinions on others in the name of God.
Is uncertainty so bad since we can’t be sure what God is exactly like or would do?
Proclaiming certainty has led to forcing “supposed” truths onto others. Reading the Bible as an infallible, authoritative guide rather than with an open-mind motivated by love has led to justifying slavery or condemning gays in God’s name. Different opinions expressed without physical or verbal aggression can be resolved by respecting the freedom of others as God does while remaining open-minded to new understandings.
So, how can we read the Bible since it can’t be infallible?
Even if the Bible was infallible, literature is subject to interpretation anyway so we are required to read with an open-mind. God never intended a Book to take the place of a relationship with God and others. Read the Bible reflectively than for solutions to specific problems. Circumstances vary. Jesus didn’t always answer directly because the issue is our heart in solving problems. Can you imagine a world where all looked out for the interests of others and not just themselves when facing difficulties? Why even bother to read the Bible if it can be misunderstood. As long as we read the Bible with a questioning spirt rather than blind obedience, it seems the Bible has influenced millions to live a more selfless life. Religion can do harm or much good.
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