The post at this link is a very interesting read. It highlights one of the biggest challenges to faith; the inerrancy of Scripture. Not wanting to overwhelm thelovemanifesto in the comments section, I decided to offer my perspective here.
To thelovemanifesto: please accept this as an offering of things for you to consider. In my heart, I see you as someone who is honestly searching and evaluating and doing so in an intelligent way. What I offer you below are things that I have only recently come across myself. I found myself quite amazed at what I’ve learned from others who have delved more deeply than I, perceived more clearly. Like you, I’d given some credence to evolution. I studied geology in college and was very well versed in the geologic layers. It seemed inevitable. I’ve learned otherwise since.
If you accept the idea that the Bible is prone to human error, then you are left with a problem; whose grain of salt do you use to weight the content? That approach makes the individual the final arbiter of the Bible’s meaning…but only individually. I would propose that the-grain-of-salt method ultimately makes God’s Word – His message – unknowable by subjecting it to as many whims and perceptions as there are people. Interpretations can and do range from literal readings to de-deifying Christ to the status of being merely a good and wise prophet.
The pivotal question in coming to the current conclusion of the Bible not being 100% God-inspired is this: “Who determined which books would be a part of the New Testament and which ones would not?”
This begs the question, “Who is more powerful; man or God?” The obvious answer is God, since he made the universe, including man. If this is indeed so, is it then possible, even likely, that God, in His love and concern for us, would ensure the preservation of His Word through man? Surely He would not leave us all adrift and allow His Word to be watered down with man’s fallibility.
“I thought that these books were all written by first hand encounters with Jesus.”
That is a very good question. Attribution is not always easy. Honestly, I started putting together a list of attributions and supporting data. I realized – fortunately before getting very far – that it would be pointless. If we accept that God inspires and influences men to ensure His Word remains as He would have it, this becomes a non-issue. I read both links provided. There is no denying that there were disagreements over NT canon. Even Peter and Paul had it out at least once. God’s work was done in their instance, as I believe God has done in NT canon.
The post is admittedly “an over-simplification, and not 100% accurate.” Indeed, this is a topic of many dissertations, books, articles…and blogs. There is not enough space or attention span in any one venue to entertain a full discussion. But I must refer us all back to the original question I propose; who do you trust to execute His will and purpose, who is more powerful and capable? Once you answer that, everything else becomes moot.
One other thing I noticed; the Old Testament is painted with the same brush as the New Testament as far as inerrancy is concerned. While no reasons are given, this may well be a matter of the superficial treatment necessary in a blog. I would like to offer the following as support for Old Testament inerrancy.
First, evolution does not fit biblically even with liberal interpretation. If you believe that God created man and that evolution was His method, you are left with a problem; God created everything in a perfect state, and then man sinned. Death entered the world. The primary driver of evolution is death. If your genes don’t cut it in the current environment, you die, making room for someone with a better package. That means God would have used death to “create” man. If you accept evolution, a whole lot of theology goes down the drain, including sin, the need for Jesus, etc. And those items are the whole point of the Bible.
I would encourage visiting https://answersingenesis.org/. There are many books available on this issue. Ken Hamm is the founder of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum outside Cincinnati, OH.
Also while at that site, find Already Gone, a scientific research project to discover why people, especially youth, are leaving the church. The results point toward the need that the bible fills and that modern churches do not. One of its conclusions is that Sunday School is a major contributing factor…to youth leaving, not staying! I wholeheartedly agree, as I recall the inane tortures Sunday School!
Next, go to Amazon.com and find The Exodus Case by Dr. Lennart Moller. He researched a number of archeological finds that support a literal reading of Exodus. If you see two DVDs suggested along with the book, I recommend those as well.
Ultimately, the Bible is the first among books. However, if we do not read widely and critically, we will not improve our understanding of both God and the world as His creation. Why do many Christians simply spout Scripture in response to questions and issues? My theory is that they are not literate enough where the Bible intersects the world and can’t connect the two meaningfully. Learning as much as possibly about that intersection has become my mission.
Please accept this in the spirit of Christian love and sharing. If I have come across any other way, I ask your forgiveness.