I received an interesting email last week by someone who shared that his spiritual journey has taken his beliefs in a more “progressive” direction. As a result, this direction has reshaped — or entirely replaced — the tenets of his Christian faith. Although he did not specify which ones, I’m assuming that the tenet regarding the inerrancy of the Scriptures was without exception.
This email inspired me to contemplate the following question:
Is it possible for God to write a book?
Taking into account the monotheistic religions’ definition of God as the perfect, all-wise, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority, then sure, it’s possible.
Is it possible for God to write a perfect book? Well, since God is perfect, then yes, I would argue that it is possible for Him to write a perfect book as well.
The Bible itself actually makes the brassy claim that it is the “inspired Word of God” and without error in the original writings. The term “inspired” here is not used in the sense of “Edgar Allan Poe was inspired to write great poetry”. Rather, it means “God-breathed,” which would more accurately reflect the original language found in 2 Timothy 3:16.
Ah, to contemplate the breath of eternal God! Man’s first experience with this miraculous power began with Adam when God breathed “the breath of life” into him (Gen 2:7). Fast-forwarding to the God-Man’s earthly ministry, Jesus breathed on His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit (John 20:22)”. The Apostle Peter experienced the breath of God in his own lungs exhaling the following words, “Prophesy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet 1:21)”. Friend, that’s how the Bible was written.
At this moment I’m reminded of the dialogue that the Apostle Paul had with King Agrippa, “Why should it be thought incredible with you that God should raise the dead?” I mean, we’re talking about God here. So, in the same fashion I ask you, dear reader, why would you think it an incredible feat for a perfect God to write a perfect book?
It’s logical to assume that if the Bible contains factual errors then God is not omniscient and therefore is capable of making errors Himself. If the Bible contains misinformation then God must be a liar. If the Bible contains contradictions then God must be the author of confusion.
In other words, if one were to throw away the 2,000-year-old tenet of the Christian faith that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and without error in the original writings, then God, by definition, is not God.
I understand that there are apparent discrepancies found in many parts of the Bible. Ah, but that’s where the journey begins! You’re either bringing those parts into harmony with the whole of the message or into discord to further justify your belief that the Bible is nothing more than a collection of fairy tales. It all depends on your presupposition.
Regarding the issue of apparent discrepancies, James Packer in his book “Your Father Loves You” wrote, “I remember reading something written by an old seventeenth-century Puritan named William Bridge. He said that harping on discrepancies shows a very bad heart, adding, “For a godly man, it should be as it was with Moses. When a godly man sees the Bible and secular data apparently at odds, well, he does as Moses did when he saw an Egyptian fighting an Israelite: He kills the Egyptian. He discounts the secular testimony, knowing God’s Word to be true. But when he sees an apparent inconsistency between two passages of Scripture, he does as Moses did when he found two Israelites quarreling: he tries to reconcile them. He says, ‘Aha, these are brethren, I must make peace between them.’ And that’s what the godly man does.”
Christians, kill the “Egyptian!”*
* Please note that this is an allegorical, not literal exhortation. Don’t kill or hurt anybody! Certainly not an Egyptian!
~ Paul and Danica Bartelme have been married for 23 years and have three children age 13 years and under. Jacob (13), Lily (11), and Luke (9). They’ve been residents of Escondido for 12 years and love Harley motorcycles and good music. They pastor Escondido’s very own Sanctuary Church.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of Times-Advocate staff, and/or any/all contributors to this publication.