19 July 2013

What Are We To Think of the Bible?

Christians have long been known as people of the book. Ours is a faith based upon the authoritative teachings of God’s Word as found in the Bible – both the Old and New Testaments. But the question is often raised these days whether the book is flawed – or perhaps outdated – or both. Perhaps it’s time to simply place it on the bookshelf along with the “nice pieces of literature,” or even next to Grimm’s Fairy Tales or Aesop’s Fables. OR, is it still to be viewed as THE authoritative Word of God, a word which cuts across historical eras and contains timeless truth.

A fairly common perspective was expressed to me a few years ago by a young man who wrote me a letter. He had heard (third hand) that I had spoken of the practice of homosexuality as contrary to God’s law. He took me to task for basing my views on such a “shaky” authority as the Bible. He informed me that I was putting too much stock in what he described as “an anachronistic moral code.”  

Let's take a look at a few popular views on the Bible.

We’ve outgrown it. “We’re modern. We live in a scientific age. The Bible was written for people who needed an explanation of the workings of the universe. After all, they were ‘pre-scientific.’ They were ‘primitive.’ They couldn’t answer all the ‘why’ questions; questions about what was going on around them: the Sun, natural disasters, seasons, etc. So they needed ‘primitive’ answers. Science can now answer all the questions, so we don’t need the Bible anymore – or God, for that matter. It’s interesting to note that the Czech Republic has officially announced what many nations already practice. They say that they are beyond the need for God.”  

The word ‘primitive.’ What makes us smarter than our grandfathers? To assume that we have a greater facility for understanding is to assume the evolutionary theory – and even to go beyond it considerably. Moses, Abraham, Paul, and jesus seemed to have no problem accepting God’s Word –p and I’ve never heard of any one of them being described as an ape, or Zinjanthropus, or the “missing link.” Their minds were every bit as well formed as the so-called “modern mind.” This conceit that we are somehow wiser than our forbears is something CS Lewis called “Chronological snobbery.”

It seems to me that science today has MORE unanswered questions than in generations past. No scientist is ready, yet, with a definitive answer as to what was the “First Cause” or what preceded the “Big Bang.” At that point, many scientists say, we are in the realm of theology. Of course, for the most part, they are unwilling to hear the answers of theologians. 

Just having unanswered questions does not make one intellectually incapable. Likewise, just having the technology of “modern science” does not render the answers of the Bible unnecessary, faulty, or mythological. Science has not disproved anything in the Bible. Archeology has not proved any of the geography or history of the Bible untrue. 

So, over the next few installments (whenever they occur!), I want to have a quick look at a few more of the common views people have of the Bible. 

Stay Tuned.

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