Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)


I have never understood where the belief that the Bible was written by God, or even inspired by him, came from.

The reasons that I do have for holding that belief have always struck me as weak. At the end of the day, I hold that belief because so many others tell me to. If you have a better reason, then I'd sincerely love to consider it.

I am more confident of the Bible's being a collection of writings about God, mainly by authors who believed in his existence, which I concede would make it inspired by him, even if he doesn't exist. Good for them. When I write, I often try to convey my beliefs about God too.

It can be argued that it also reflects stages on mankind's journey of discovering God, which makes it a logical reference work for those considering God today. After all, when someone who believes in God opens a Bible, they're usually in more of a mind to listen to God than at other times.

Putting a truth into words always simplifies it though. For example, you don't always write down an object's colour. Even if you do go to record that a thing is red, you probably won't write down its exact colour, which might be alizarin crimson. Chances are though, that its exact exact colour hasn't even been classified yet, let alone been attributed a name. 'Red' will have to do, despite its vagueness.

Believing in what is written in the Bible, or in any book, must surely result in believing in a simplified version of the truth that is being conveyed, if any.

So doesn't believing the Bible run the risk of keeping us at a distance from understanding something more complex? Or should it rather serve as a stepping-stone towards understanding something more complex?

After all, nothing can be more complex than God.

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2 comment(s):

At 5:37 pm, Blogger BJ said...

I found this article very thought-provoking on this topic:

http://ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Bible_Authoritative.htm

I think your observation about writing something down rendering it simplistic by removing complexity is a good one. But I don't think it leads us to simplistic understanding unless we hold onto single simplistic utterances and being the whole picture. That's why I think having a sense of the whole of scripture helps us to place the "simplicity" of the passage under observation within the wider complexity of the whole.

 
At 5:35 pm, Blogger Steve Goble said...

Hey there Brett - thanks for the great perspective, and also for the link, which…

1. I have read,
2. I already read three years ago on 9th December 2009, and
3. I took the rare step on that date of saving to my hard drive because I liked it so much!

(Also recognised the Shakespeare analogy getting referred to in a cession podcast a short while later…)

Anyway I've just re-read it again, and I agree that it's thought-provoking, although I felt he was talking about a topic that was potentially related to this one, rather than necessarily the same one. Will see what thoughts his piece provokes in me over time…

Thanks!

Steve.
(ῧ)

 

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