Monday, February 7, 2011

Do You Believe The Bible To Be 100% Factual/Truth?

I wrote this just a bit earlier in response to a friend's Facebook question:

Do You Believe The Bible To Be 100% Factual/Truth?

I used to be very strongly in the "inerrantist" camp regarding the absolute accuracy of scripture. That isn't to say I read the text in a wooden literalistic way. Even back then I understood that scripture was made up of many different genres of writing. In fact I even decided against going to a seminary several years ago because they didn't hold to inerrancy, and eventually came out to Gordon Conwell partly just for that reason, since they do officially hold to inerrancy. But ironically enough since I've been out here, I've moved steadily aways from the notion of inerrancy for several reasons.

First off, it's one of those doctrines that dies the death of a thousand qualifications. The reason there are so many qualifications is precisely because without them inerrancy would be obviously wrong.

And secondly, whenever there are textual variants among the manuscripts, which there are many, both OT and NT, it's argued that the doctrine of inerrancy is concerning the "autographs" and not any of the manuscripts we now have. But of course there are no autographs around to test this out by. It's therefore unfalsifiable.

And lastly, my interest in science and biology, cosmology, genetics, etc., has forced me to come to terms with trying to reconcile my faith with the modern scientific consensus concerning origins. Now I've never been a "young earth" type to begin with, and grew up on Carl Sagan's Cosmos, so I've never really struggled with accepting modern science. But for a long time I didn't really take the time to see how these two "books" (scripture and nature) of God's revelation related to each other.

So I don't think it's necessary to read scripture like it's a modern science textbook. That's a modernist and frankly fundamentalist way of looking at the text that does it a great injustice. Even within scripture we see different authors reinterpreting previously inspired texts in surprisingly "spiritual" and "metaphorical" ways. And in the early church some of the treatments were really out there at times, and it was considered OK because scripture was seen to be alive, fluid and flexible, precisely because is was "God-breathed."

Anyway thanks man for posting the question. It helps me to process my own thinking right now on where I'm at and where I'm "evolving" in my Christian understanding.


The M said...

Really appreciate this answer... clearly very thought out.

Gordon said...

Don't you find it odd that the same people who rely on Genesis being literal, need Revelation to be symbolic so they can interpret in the meanings they want from it?