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Source: (consider it) Thread: biblical inerrancy
Freddy
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# 365

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quote:
Originally posted by Bonzo:
It is precisely because it's all about the God of grace, that it is necessary to dispell the myth of this wrathful vengeful God.

Oh, is this where you are coming from? Well that's a pretty good point! I agree wholeheartedly.

--------------------
"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg


Posts: 12829 | From: Bryn Athyn | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Glenn Oldham
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# 47

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quote:
Originally posted by Polly:

What I do know is that if there was something that troubled me and I needed to clarify specific aspect of scripture I can do some own research rather than make my own judgements like a few are doing on this thread.


Polly,
In the above quote you are critical of people making their own judgements (you made similar comments earlier about this).

This kind of comment is made from time to time here in Purgatory but would you please consider the following before you post it again!

  • if you are unlike us in NOT making your own judgements – who makes yours for you? Is it your vicar/pastor? Some other person, such as a writer?

  • and how do you decide who makes them for you? In other words how do you make a judgement about who makes judgements for you? How do you know who to trust? What do you do when experts on this area disagree? There is a huge variety of opinion and belief in Christianity – how do you decide who to believe?

  • in short is it possible to avoid making one’s own judgement?

  • you make it sound as if making ones own judgement is an irresponsible thing, but it can in fact be done in all sorts of different ways. I could decide for or against seeing the bible as inerrant by tossing a coin – that would be irresponsible and would deserve criticism. But if I come to that conclusion after thirty years of thought and prayer and reading and discussion and listening that isn’t in the same league as tossing a coin. How can you possibly know that the posters on this thread are not making their own judgements responsibly?

  • when you strongly imply that there is a difference between making one’s own judgement and doing research you ignore the fact that many of us here in Purgatory have years of research behind us already on issues like these. You therefore leave yourself wide open to the accusation that the only reason you believe we have not been doing research is because we have not arrived at the same opinion as you.

Glenn

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This entire doctrine is worthless except as a subject of dispute. (G. C. Lichtenberg 1742-1799 Aphorism 60 in notebook J of The Waste Books)


Posts: 910 | From: London, England | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Glenn Oldham
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# 47

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Ekalb,

The book of Joshua describes God as commanding and aiding the extermination of various Canaanite tribes. Since the Concise Oxford English dictionary defines genocide as ‘the extermination of a nation, race etc.’ it is not unreasonable to say that, if Joshua is without error than God committed genocide.

You wish to show that God did not commit genocide and your strategy is, in effect, to redefine genocide to something like ‘the extermination of a nation, race etc. unless commanded by God as punishment for sin.’ This challenges people, like myself and Bonzo, to show that the clearance of Canaan was not a punishment for sin. One obvious point we could make here is that the extermination involved babies who are surely innocent. However, you pre-empt this by stating that all people, including babies, are sinners deserving of punishment for sin.

What we end up with in your view is the conclusion that the clearance of Canaan cannot be used to prove that the bible is not inerrant.

But the price to pay for such a conclusion is a heavy one. If I am trying to decide whether or not to believe that the bible is without error then it would appear that if I decide in favour of inerrancy I will be committed to at least the following views:

  • that God is the kind of God who, rather than punish these sinners swiftly and directly himself insists on and commands his people to slaughter people for him including killing babies using swords, thus forcing many of his people to witness and take part in the killing of women, children and infants;

  • that God is mysteriously incapable of giving his people a land peacefully,

I will inevitably have to draw the conclusion that there had better be some exceptionally strong reasons for me to adopt the view that the bible is without error if I am going to have to end up holding this kind of view of God. I do not see how anyone can be happy with these views of God. They give a picture of God, which many find morally repugnant, and which many would find does not inspire worship and respect.

I do not believe that the case for inerrancy is a strong one anyway. But presumably you do. What reasons do you have for being committed to inerrancy, Ekalb?

Glenn

--------------------
This entire doctrine is worthless except as a subject of dispute. (G. C. Lichtenberg 1742-1799 Aphorism 60 in notebook J of The Waste Books)


Posts: 910 | From: London, England | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Freddy
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# 365

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quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Oldham:
But the price to pay for such a conclusion is a heavy one.

I am in agreement with most of this post if you define "inerrancy" in a strictly literal way. As soon as you have God Himself commanding genocide you are in trouble.

It would be great, however, to have someone defining some kind of middle ground. Otherwise it sounds as though we are assigning no divinity at all to the Bible. This causes the difficulty of dealing with the Bible's endless claims to divinity, if not strict inerrance.

The price to pay for the conclusion that the Bible does not necessarily contain divine truth is also a heavy one:

1. If Christianity's main tenets are founded on the assumption that the Bible is true, what happens to Christianity if the Bible is no longer believed?

2. If the Bible message is accepted in the main, but it is acknowledged that large parts of it are purely man-made, doesn't this leave every biblical statement open to question?

3. If there is no belief in the reality of divine revelation, this threatens the legitimacy of all religious systems.

4. If you believe that morality is affected by belief, then you might worry that the loss of belief will lead to an increase in the kind of immoral behavior that is hurtful to society in general.

These kinds of fears are taken seriously by many people, and so they feel obligated to accept biblical statements - even when they make no sense or run contrary to other biblical statements. Certainly churches are profoundly affected by this kind of reasoning. No Christian church has formally repudiated the book of Joshua.

For myself, the way out of the equally valid problems with either position is to accept the idea of an allegorical aspect to the Bible. So that even though God Himself would never order the destruction of the actual Canaanites, He does order the destruction of the evils that they represent in our own lives. This way the book is absolutely divine, but adapted to the nature of the people of that time. Yet in its meaning it is adapted to the people of all times.

But whatever device a person adopts, I think it is important to acknowledge that you pay a price if you acknowledge the literal truth of the Bible, and you also pay one if you deny the divine inspiration of the Bible.

Unfortunately, it seems as though it is hard to define the middle ground.

--------------------
"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg


Posts: 12829 | From: Bryn Athyn | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
ekalb
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# 2642

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Bonzo,

My argument was NOT that if you had 'created' the hamster, then you would be justified to cut its legs off. That's why I asked the question in my post 'Why?' would you cut the legs off. Further, I suggested that you were implying a "sadistic" motive for doing so. (again, read the post thoroughly before responding)

In short, I'm not saying that God just goes around sadistically killing things out of boredom or pleasure, rather He will kill humans when they have crossed the boundaries that He has set for us. Or He might have mercy and not kill us. BUT either way, God is justified. Not because the Bible 'just says so', but because God is privy to the unique ownership over all creation.

I might add, that if you "could" create a hamster, then you would be (for all practicality) the hamster's 'god'.
And if you were the kind of 'god' that would sadistically rip the legs of your creation then I might argue that the hamster may not even think it evil. As 'god' over your hamster, you (by your nature and ethics/lack of ethics) would define the hamster's worldview and sense of right and wrong.

What am I saying? Basically that you cannot just use a "theoretical" universe in which cutting legs off its creation is the norm for divine actions and somehow compare it to this universe in which right and wrong are defined by the true God's nature and ethics.
---It's apples and oranges.-Can't draw a valid comparison.

Well, I want to say more, but I gotta go. I'll be back to explore this inerrancy thing later.

--------------------
"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please."
- Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)


Posts: 347 | From: Purgatory (Canada) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
ekalb
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Glen,

appreciate the reponse.
Frankly, you bring some rather good points.

I'm WAY too tired to go into all the reasons for me holding to inerrancy, But I will (for now) try to answer your post's points:

First, you're right that 'genocide' may be the correct 'technical' term for the events described in Joshua. I am not so much trying to 're-define' the term as I am trying to separate the 'stigma' of inherent immorality attached to it by bonzo.
'Genocide', as being implicitly defined by bonzo, has been an inherently 'evil' slaughter, initiated by God, executed by the ancient Hebrews upon particular Canaanite tribes.

What I have been showing is the qualitative diference between 'that kind' of genocide and divine punishment. But I see that you have grasped my argument rather well already so I won't re-state it.

You seem to have a problem with the doctrine of original sin. Christians have always firmly held to this teaching that even babies (yes, even cute little babies) are born with a disposition towards wrong-doing. Now, many Christians argue that God doesn't judge babies until they have reached an 'age of moral responsibility'. - I also hold to this. This, though, can be a 'can-of-worms' in itself and I will simply say that if it is true that humanity is a 'fallen' race, and if it is true that because of our falleness, all humans are at enmity with God by nature, then I don't see the problem with my initial argument. (Scripture does support the above premises and, therefore, my syllogism does have weight.)

All humans 'deserve' death due to sin, and if God decides to enact His justice, then He is allowed to.

Also, I would point out that you wrongfully assume that there is some limitation to the 'form' of God's justice. So, then how is God supposed to 'rightly' enact His divine justice upon sinful man??? I don't think that there is a problem with God using other men to do His will (i.e. justice, grace).
Further, I would say that God is 'extremely' compassionate in dealing with our sin and with what His 'just' nature compels of Him. It is a 'tension' within the divine mind, and like I have posted early, is the 'problem' that Christ came to fix.

LAstly, God isn't "incapable" of giving His people the land peacefully. For one, humans have genuine free will and God has genuine sovereignty. It is unfair of you to try and defeat my argument by throwing in something as complex and multi-faceted as human freedom/divine sovereingty. It's not as black and white as you paint it (This is not a concession to your point, by the way, rather I can't spend the time on such a large issue. -another thread, maybe?).
Also, I recommend Deut.7 for reading. It gives one reason for God desiring to kill the Canaanite tribes in the promised land: namely, that the tribes would 'corrupt' the message and purpose God had given the Hebrews.


There may be equally logical answers to these questions which do not support inerrancy, but my purpose is to show that someone CAN hold to inerrancy without being epistemologically 'sloppy'. holding to inerrancy is not like believing in the 'tooth fairy'. Inerrancy is a logically-consistent, albeit debated, outworking of the Christian faith and what our 'book' strongly supports.

sorry for the grammar and sentence structures, I'm really tired.

--------------------
"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please."
- Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)


Posts: 347 | From: Purgatory (Canada) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
gbuchanan
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# 415

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quote:
Originally posted by ekalb:
Glen,
You seem to have a problem with the doctrine of original sin. Christians have always firmly held to this teaching that even babies (yes, even cute little babies) are born with a disposition towards wrong-doing. Now, many Christians argue that God doesn't judge babies until they have reached an 'age of moral responsibility'. - I also hold to this. This, though, can be a 'can-of-worms' in itself and I will simply say that if it is true that humanity is a 'fallen' race, and if it is true that because of our falleness, all humans are at enmity with God by nature, then I don't see the problem with my initial argument. (Scripture does support the above premises and, therefore, my syllogism does have weight.)


Erm, be careful - sin is not the same as wickedness and evil - that is an interpretation which comes out of a change in the use of the word in English. Properly, sin is falling short of perfection - and failing to be perfect need not in all cases imply wickedness, which is something else again (though clearly a form of sin).

Unless St. Paul is errant, clearly judgement upon sin is contingent on the knowledge of good and evil, perfect and imperfect.

quote:

All humans 'deserve' death due to sin, and if God decides to enact His justice, then He is allowed to.


...that's not the only interpretation; firstly, evil is usually associated with punishment, sure, but again sin is not the same, thus imperfection - sin - does not necessarily lead to punishment.

Rather, the railing of Jesus and Paul against the focus upon sinfulness as a measure of justification, is to point out not the wickedness of all people, but their lack of perfection. If you compare one against another, the only inarguable position is that perfection is required, thus no-one can say that on their behaviour they are owed justification. Therefore, only God can dispense justification, because human laws can provide none, and human power none either.

God, therefore, places a justification by covenant or faith, comparing not one persons temptations, talents, etc. beside anothers, but requiring instead relationship with Him. Thus, however fallen one person has been, however imperfect their history were it known and humanly judged, God's mercy and love are greater. No gap is so wide God cannot bridge it or His power redeem, which given the insufficiency of human justice and power only serves to illuminate His majesty.


quote:

Inerrancy is a logically-consistent, albeit debated, outworking of the Christian faith and what our 'book' strongly supports.


...erm, Genesis, and the origin of the Jewish people, are both factually assailable. Internal inconsistencies about teachings and facts - what sort of inerrant is that? Inerrancy has its own consistent internal rationale, but it creates inconsistency in the text it purports to be totally authorative, and that text is testably inaccurate in fact.

I don't personally believe these problems are as significant as some folks think, but by going out on a limb we invite being hoisted by our own petard.

Reducing inerrancy to things spiritual nearly works - but not in the final analysis perfectly.

Anyhow, it depends on whether you see the bible as a map or as a compass - I trust it totally as I would a compass to show me magnetic north (properly used), I don't think its a map telling me absolutely everything.

Off now to take my bearings...


Posts: 683 | From: London, UK | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Polly

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# 1107

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Glenn Posted
quote:
when you strongly imply that there is a difference between making one’s own judgement and doing research you ignore the fact that many of us here in Purgatory have years of research behind us already on issues like these. You therefore leave yourself wide open to the accusation that the only reason you believe we have not been doing research is because we have not arrived at the same opinion as you.

I can't respond to all your comments so sorry for being selective.

Firstly apologies to anyone who feels this way.

Secondly I have never de-valued anyones own opinion just because it differs from my own and that was never my intention.

I have also never said that I am an expert on any given subject or believed that there are no other people on this board who have either done research on any given subject or that no-one here is an expert in any field.

The point I am trying to make is this:

The Bible is made up of many different books by a wide range of people from different backgrounds dated 1000's of years old.

How can we possibly understand it all and whats more a number of the accounts in in various translations do not help either.

I believe there has to be a reason for all the scriptural writings to be in the Bible. Some more obvious than others and some God "had" included for reasons known to Himself.

In general we know more now about Biblical times than ever through various bits of research etc and really have to dig deep to understand scripture.

With your comment above (even though I haven't read every post) I haven't seen anyone else quoting stuff on the things that they know.

If you or someone else has insight into anything than lets see it. It would be really helpful. Until then is it not just your opinion against my opinion etc??

quote:
Originally posted by Bonzo:
It is precisely because it's all about the God of grace, that it is necessary to dispell the myth of this wrathful vengeful God.

On a side issue God does say that Vengence is His.

Also see my comments above to Glen concerning Scripture etc.

IMO scripture must be treated like any other "historical" writing. That is give it the benefit of doubt until proven otherwise.

In a court of law we wouldn't say someone is guilty on the face of a statement but cross examine it with other means.

I do believe like you God is a God of love.

And yes I struggle hugely with many different bits of scripture.

If I had a friend or family member whose only reason for not coming to faith was this whole thing about Joshua I would do my best to do research and help give reason for what I felt it was saying.

This is all I have tried to say to you and others. If it is a problem with you and your faith instead of reading it at face value try to find out the whole context of it and if you still come to teh same conclusion then you cross that bridge if and whne you get to it.


Posts: 560 | From: St Albans | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Bonzo
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# 2481

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quote:

Originally posted by ekalb

I might add, that if you "could" create a hamster, then you would be (for all practicality) the hamster's 'god'. And if you were the kind of 'god' that would sadistically rip the legs of your creation then I might argue that the hamster may not even think it evil. As 'god' over your hamster, you (by your nature and ethics/lack of ethics) would define the hamster's worldview and sense of right and wrong.


So if hypothetically I could create a hamster, a being which could feel pain, a being which felt distress, but it was entirely my own work. You are saying that the hamster couldn't blame me for cutting it's legs off, but you as an equal being to me you would call me 'sadistic'.

What I'm getting at here is that cruelty is cruelty whoever does it. If the person who commits cruelty knows how much pain, terror, suffering they are causing, then it's cruel absolutely. It doesn't matter if I created the Hamster of not, I know it can feel, I know it can suffer, I know it can feel afraid. Therefore, having created it, I would be (as you have now admitted) being sadistic.

So you say:

    God 'defines our sense of right and wrong'.

I presume you also believe:
    God is a consistent
    God is truthful
    God is loving

Therefore
If God is truthful, when he defines our sense of right and wrong he will do so truthfully.
If God is consistent then we should, by our defined sense of right and wrong, be able to spot where inconsistensies in God's nature happen. If God is loving we should accept the parts of the Bible where a loving God is portrayed, and reject, as errant, the parts where God is reported to commit genocide.

--------------------
Love wastefully

Posts: 1150 | From: Stockport | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Clyde
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# 752

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From a Hamster.
Why don't you humans sort out your own problems without bringing us into it.
It's really is quite simple. Either 'God
is Love' or He isn't!
Regards

--------------------
I've not been on the ship for a long time. I'm very old now and don't like it when the sea gets rough.

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Gauk
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From Freddy:

1. If Christianity's main tenets are founded on the assumption that the Bible is true, what happens to Christianity if the Bible is no longer believed?

Let us say "substantially true" rather than "inerrantly true" and Christianity can survive.

2. If the Bible message is accepted in the main, but it is acknowledged that large parts of it are purely man-made, doesn't this leave every biblical statement open to question?

Yes, but that is not a bad thing.

3. If there is no belief in the reality of divine revelation, this threatens the legitimacy of all religious systems.

Not at all! Besides, there is a difference between divine revelation in the sense of dictating a holy text, and other forms of revelation.

4. If you believe that morality is affected by belief, then you might worry that the loss of belief will lead to an increase in the kind of immoral behavior that is hurtful to society in general.

Too late for that now ...

By the way, about this hamster. Maybe you yourself can't create a hamster, but you can create a human child. It is not moral to chop your children's legs off, whether you created them or not.

--------------------
Now the Sirens have a still more fatal weapon than their song, namely their silence ... it is conceivable that someone might possibly have escaped from their singing; but from their silence certainly never.


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Carys

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quote:
Otherwise it sounds as though we are assigning no divinity at all to the Bible. This causes the difficulty of dealing with the Bible's endless claims to divinity, if not strict inerrance.

The Bible does not claim to be divine, divinely inspired perhaps, but it is not itself God and no where claims to be.

Carys

--------------------
O Lord, you have searched me and know me
You know when I sit and when I rise


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Callan
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Originally posted by Polly:

quote:
IMO scripture must be treated like any other "historical" writing. That is give it the benefit of doubt until proven otherwise.

Now this is something I do know about. [I]Nothing[/I} is given the benefit of the doubt in historical enquiry. A proper scepticism about one's sources is one of the attributes of the historian. It is the application of this attitude to the Bible that creates one of the major doubts as to it's inerrancy.

For example, according to scholars, the history of Israel we find in the early books of the Bible is the creation of a religious elite during the exile (i.e. 700 years or so after the events described). Furthermore the history they describe bears little relation to the history of Israel as discovered by archeologists. (Thus Whybray - The Making of the Pentateuch).

Doubtless other views can be taken, but the point is that no historian worthy of the name would take the Bible or any other documentary source at face value.

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How easy it would be to live in England, if only one did not love her. - G.K. Chesterton


Posts: 9677 | From: Citizen of the World | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Bonzo
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# 2481

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quote:

Originally posted by carys

The Bible does not claim to be divine, divinely inspired perhaps, but it is not itself God and no where claims to be.


Actually the Bible doesn't even claim that all the Bible is divinely inspired. Only 'scripture' is claimed to be divinely inspired. What constitued scripture at that time is very unclear. It might well have not included the book of Joshua which might have been considered to be a historical account rather than scripture.

Certainly the verse which says 'all scripture is inspired by God', could not have been referring to any of the books of the NT.

--------------------
Love wastefully


Posts: 1150 | From: Stockport | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Freddy
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# 365

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quote:
Originally posted by Carys:
The Bible does not claim to be divine, divinely inspired perhaps, but it is not itself God and no where claims to be.

It's true that it never says, "the words of this book are God Himself." But it comes close. It says:

"And the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1

This can be interpretted as not referring to the Word as the Scriptures, but to the Word as a philosophical concept that was "in the beginning" with God, which the written Word was not. Nevertheless, the word is identified with Scripture in hundreds of bible passages that begin "the Word of the Lord" and go on to make various statements as if they are directly from God.

Other passages ascribe divine qualities to Scripture:
"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." Luke 4
"The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever." Psalm 119.160
Jesus said, "The words I speak to you are spirit and are life." John 6.63

The language itself of Scripture makes divine claims, including over 70 references to "My word" or "My words," referring to what He has said in Scripture, over 250 references to "Word of the Lord," referring to specific sayings in Scripture, and 50 references to the "Word of God." These labels identify the book as divine, if they are accepted.

These things may be described as saying that the bible is divinely inspired. But "divinely inspired" can be another way of saying that they are divine, and therefore holy and true. Or it can mean that God in some sense inspired these words, just as He inspires each one of us.

The Bible, I think, claims to be directly from God in a special way, so that it is a divine book containing divine truth.

I don't think, however, that this means that it claims to be literally accurate in a worldly sense. It is about spiritual, not natural, truth.

--------------------
"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg


Posts: 12829 | From: Bryn Athyn | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Polly

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# 1107

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Bonzo posted
quote:
Certainly the verse which says 'all scripture is inspired by God', could not have been referring to any of the books of the NT.

I have always viewed by faith as a choice as in I can either believe what the Bibles says or not.

Bonzo it sounds as if you have already chosen to be selective concerning the bits you believe and don't believe.

You haven't said whether you have properly examined the bits you have struggled with so I really don't know what more to say to you.

I beleive what I do because I had to see whether the bible was true or not and after various things have come to the conclusion I have.

I don't agree that you have been particuarly openminded about this whole issue and the point was yours to disproove and not mine to proove as I wasn't the one with the problem.

At the end of the day as I said it is a choice. Hope you find some peace of mind over the whole issue as I have said all I can so am off to another thread now!!


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Bonzo
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Actually, polly, the OP says:

quote:

But all scripture is written by humans! (as far as I know!) How can something written by humans be "inerrant"?

Which makes the point yours to prove and mine to defend.

To be honest I feel quite sorry for you. I'm not trying to be patronising here, I really do.

When faced with a wealth of evidence to the contrary you won't allow your opinion to change, which makes you a slave to that opinion. Jesus is the truth, the truth that sets us free. But your faith traps you and confines you.

How can you expect anyone to see the liberation that Jesus offers in a faith like that?

Go on, let go, it's safe. I survived.

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Love wastefully


Posts: 1150 | From: Stockport | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Carys

Ship's Celticist
# 78

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quote:
It's true that it never says, "the words of this book are God Himself." But it comes close. It says:

"And the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1

This can be interpretted as not referring to the Word as the Scriptures, but to the Word as a philosophical concept that was "in the beginning" with God, which the written Word was not. Nevertheless, the word is identified with Scripture in hundreds of bible passages that begin "the Word of the Lord" and go on to make various statements as if they are directly from God.


John 1 is refering to Jesus as the Word 'who became flesh and dwelt among us' rather than to the scriptures.

I'm not saying that the Bible isn't divinely inspired, but pointing out that it does not claim divinity for itself as you said. It might be that we're using words in different ways. But as my words aren't me, so God's words aren't God.

Carys

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O Lord, you have searched me and know me
You know when I sit and when I rise


Posts: 6896 | From: Bryste mwy na thebyg | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gauk
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# 1125

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Actually, I fail to see how the Bible can refer to itself, since as a construct it postdates any of the actual writing in it. The Bible on our bookshelves is an amalgam of texts accepted as a corpus, and which exludes a large number of other similar texts (the various apocrypha).

Nowhere does the Bible comment on which texts are scriptural and reliable and which are not. The selection was made much later, and now we take it largely on trust.

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Now the Sirens have a still more fatal weapon than their song, namely their silence ... it is conceivable that someone might possibly have escaped from their singing; but from their silence certainly never.


Posts: 457 | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
mousethief

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# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by ekalb:
You seem to have a problem with the doctrine of original sin. Christians have always firmly held to this teaching that even babies (yes, even cute little babies) are born with a disposition towards wrong-doing.

A disposition towards wrongdoing and guilt are two completely different things, however. Babies have no guilt. They have no actual sin to repent of. They are innocent. This has ALWAYS been the teaching of the Orthodox Church, for as far back as you can look.

quote:
Now, many Christians argue that God doesn't judge babies until they have reached an 'age of moral responsibility'. - I also hold to this. This, though, can be a 'can-of-worms' in itself and I will simply say that if it is true that humanity is a 'fallen' race, and if it is true that because of our falleness, all humans are at enmity with God by nature, then I don't see the problem with my initial argument.

All humans are not at enmity with God by nature. 'Let the children come to me, and hinder them not: of such is the Kingdom of God.' Unless you would want to say that the Kingdom of God is at enmity with God, which is nonsense.

quote:
All humans 'deserve' death due to sin, and if God decides to enact His justice, then He is allowed to.

Sorry, bzzzzt, try again. All humans do not deserve death due to sin. Innocent babies who have not sinned do not deserve death.

Reader Alexis
aut malus homo aut Orthodox guy

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28


Posts: 62951 | From: Ecotopia | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tubbs

Miss Congeniality
# 440

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It's a long time since I did A Level RE but the Word (or Logos) referred to in John refers to Christ rather than the Word of God aka The Bible. The only claim that the Bible makes for itself is in Timothy when Paul (?) writes that all Scripture is God Breathed and useful for instruction etc ...

I don't think that means that The Bible is claiming that it is 100% accurate as it's the Word of God written down by and translated by people ... All of whom will bring something of themselves to it. Just as when we read it we bring something of ourselves to it and will intrepret the same stuff completely differently.

Tubbs

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"It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it up and remove all doubt" - Dennis Thatcher. My blog. Decide for yourself which I am


Posts: 12618 | From: Someplace strange | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Freddy
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# 365

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quote:
Originally posted by Carys:
John 1 is refering to Jesus as the Word 'who became flesh and dwelt among us' rather than to the scriptures.

I certainly believe that Jesus was the Word made flesh. But why does this mean that He was not the Scriptures made flesh? He says repeatedly that He came to fulfill the Scriptures, as in Matthew:
"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill" (Matthew 5.17).

To me this means that He was the Word made flesh, and that the term identifies the Word with both the Law and the Prophets as well as with Jesus.

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg


Posts: 12829 | From: Bryn Athyn | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Freddy
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# 365

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quote:
Originally posted by Gauk:
Actually, I fail to see how the Bible can refer to itself, since as a construct it postdates any of the actual writing in it. The Bible on our bookshelves is an amalgam of texts accepted as a corpus, and which exludes a large number of other similar texts (the various apocrypha).

Nowhere does the Bible comment on which texts are scriptural and reliable and which are not. The selection was made much later, and now we take it largely on trust.


This is a very good point, and I have always wondered how Christians resolved it to themselves.

Jesus referred to the Law and the Prophets, and also the Psalms - thereby going a long way to defining the Old Testament canon, since these are known entities. But it certainly leaves gaps of uncertainty, especially with the New Testament.

Swedenborgians have a canon which we take to be divinely revealed. This seems to me to be the only logical way out of this question. But then, of course, how do we know that this canon is actually divinely revealed? So the question is ultimately impossible to resolve with certainty...

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg


Posts: 12829 | From: Bryn Athyn | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tubbs

Miss Congeniality
# 440

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I looked this up ... In RE I was taught Logos referred to Christ and in the context of John, also referred to the creative word of God that breathed life into the World ... Which was the same as Christ. As this defination from the CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS & RESEARCH MINISTRY states

quote:
The Greek word for "word." Mentioned only in the writings of John. John 1:1 says, "In the beginning was the Word [logos] and the Word [logos] was with God and the Word [logos] was God." The Logos is sometimes used to refer to the second person of the Trinity as the Son in preincarnate form. Jesus is the word [logos] made flesh (John 1:1,14).

However, I did find this defination on Gospelcom

quote:
One of two Greek words in the New Testament which refer to the "Word of God." The other is rhema. Though the Bible uses the two words interchangeably, in Word-Faith (aka "name it and claim it" - Tubbs) theology, logos is said to be the "written Word of God," while rhema is considered the "spoken Word of God."

In this doctrine, Logos refers to the Bible. Extra-Biblical revelation, said to be rhema, is to be rejected if it contradicts Logos.

The danger of the rhema vs. logos doctrines can be seen in some of the current renewal and revival movements, where experience and extra-Biblical revelation are increasingly taking precedence over the written Word of God. The renewal and revival movements have adopted this doctrine, because it fits in with their view that the Church is to be lead and taught by prophets and apostles who, they claim, reveal things that were previously "hidden".


Think I'll stick with me RE teacher

Tubbs

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"It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it up and remove all doubt" - Dennis Thatcher. My blog. Decide for yourself which I am


Posts: 12618 | From: Someplace strange | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Freddy
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# 365

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quote:
Originally posted by Mrs Tubbs:
I looked this up ... In RE I was taught Logos referred to Christ and in the context of John, also referred to the creative word of God that breathed life into the World ... Which was the same as Christ.

I was taught the same thing, and it is certainly true. But the logos isn't only Jesus.

The Word "logos" is used one hundred times in the gospels alone - far more frequently than "rhema," which occurs only about twenty-five times. It is the logos that is the seed in the parable of the sower (Matthew 13). It is the logos that is the "Word of God" where Jesus says, "By your traditions you make the Word of God of no effect" (Mark 7.13).

The logic is very simple. Jesus came to teach the truth, which is also the role of the Word of God. Therefore the two are identified.

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg


Posts: 12829 | From: Bryn Athyn | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Bonzo
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# 2481

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Freddy

So in your view, is the Bible saying 'In the beginning was the Bible and the Bible was with God and the Bible was God'?

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Love wastefully


Posts: 1150 | From: Stockport | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
dyfrig
Blue Scarfed Menace
# 15

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Usage of "word" is varied in the scriptures.

In the Psalms, e.g. "Your word is a lamp unto my feet", it refers specifically to Torah.

"The word of YHWH" was what the prophets spoke.

As Mrs T has pointed out, it also has connection to the creative power of YHWH - "YHWH said, 'Let there be light'" etc.

John may well be playing a little game - he not only has the above in mind when he says "in the beginning was the Word", but also the Greek philosophical category of the "logos. This is probable because he refers to the "arche", i.e. the beginning, which alludes to someone or other of the early philosphers who introduced the concept of there being a beginning principle - the "arche". For John, the Word in all its meanings is finally and definitively enfleshed in Jesus, not in a book or in an intellectual process.

There's also the idea of the "kerygma", the preaching of the Church, through which at least Paul considered God's grace to be imparted (i.e. the act of proclamation was sacramental in and of itself).

The only reference to scriptural authority in scripture is the one in Timothy referred to above, and as this was probably written in the 60s / 70s of the first century, predates 80% of the written NT and the closing of the Jewish canon at Jamnia, therefore cannot be taken to be anything more than saying that the accepted scriptures of the synagogue at that time (most probably the Torah and the Prophets, the Psalms and some wisdom literature) had value in the formation of the community. As the Christian canon is not settled till about 200 (and, in the case of Revelation's acceptance in the East, 600) then ideas of the Bible as "the Word of God" are anachronistic in NT times. I'm not sure where it arises, but it becomes shorthand for the Bible in post-Reformation times.

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"He was wrong in the long run, but then, who isn't?" - Tony Judt


Posts: 6916 | From: pob dydd Iau, am hanner dydd | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tubbs

Miss Congeniality
# 440

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Dryfig,

Those RE lessons are all flooding back. (Am now remembering how long ago they were :eek

So ... what about the extra books like Tobit etc? How come they never made the final cut?

Tubbs

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"It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it up and remove all doubt" - Dennis Thatcher. My blog. Decide for yourself which I am


Posts: 12618 | From: Someplace strange | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Callan
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# 525

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Unless anyone can point to a medieval heretic I've never heard of the idea of the Bible as the word of God is a reformation idea.

Luther appealed to scripture in claiming that the Roman Catholic Church was incorrect in it's teachings. His opponents pointed out that the canon of scripture was chosen by the Church and that therefore the idea that scripture was an independent standard by which to judge the Church was intellectually incoherent.

So if the Bible is inerrant God apparently was pleased to let His Church spend the first 1500 years of its existence in ignorance of this.

Dyfrig - how do you arrive at a figure of 80%?

BTW, would it be provocative to point out that Jesus' attitude to the Bible was to say "ye have heard it said" followed by "but I say unto you" and St Paul, of course, abandoned the Law to great indignation from Jews and Jewish Christians.

Incidentally I find it very difficult to imagine that St Paul wrote 1 Corinthians as a definitive guide for Christians in all times and all places as he expected the world to end shortly after it was written.

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How easy it would be to live in England, if only one did not love her. - G.K. Chesterton


Posts: 9677 | From: Citizen of the World | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Bonzo
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# 2481

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The mention of Martin Luther reminded me of something I said earlier in the thread about our understanding of God being the result of all the years of theology during and since the Bible. There have been many cul-de-sac explored along the way and not every step has been a forward one but theology does seem to be improving the view of God.

Now if the grass roots church was based on the theological thinking of today instead of the prejudices of the Victorians, we might get somewhere.

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Love wastefully


Posts: 1150 | From: Stockport | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Freddy
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# 365

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quote:
Originally posted by Yaffle:
Unless anyone can point to a medieval heretic I've never heard of the idea of the Bible as the word of God is a reformation idea.

What about Augustine?

quote:

“You recall that one and the same Word of God extends throughout Scripture, that it is one and the same Utterance that resounds in the mouths of all the sacred writers, since he who was in the beginning God with God has no need of separate syllables; for he is not subject to time.” - Augustine of Hippo, 5th century

It amazes me that anyone could think that the idea of Scripture being the Word of God is a reformation idea. It is stated word for word in both the Old and the New Testament.

It is true that they at no point had the Scriptures collected together while they were being written, but the prophets called what they wrote the "Word of the Lord," and Jesus called the Law and the Prophets "The Word of God" (Mark 7.13), and He spoke of His own words "spirit and life" (John 6.63). It would be inconceivable for early Christians not to have referred to His words as having divine authority.

quote:
Bonzo writes
So in your view, is the Bible saying 'In the beginning was the Bible and the Bible was with God and the Bible was God'?

No. It is saying "In the beginning was the Divine Truth, and the Divine Truth was with God and the Divine Truth was God...And the Divine Truth was made flesh and dwelt among us."

The Divine Truth and the Word of God are the same thing. This is why the one on the white horse in Revelation 19 is called the Word of God - because the understanding of the Divine Truth is what, in the end, will bring about the happy changes that are described in the end of that book.

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg


Posts: 12829 | From: Bryn Athyn | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Scot
Deck hand
# 2095

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Perhaps the question is not whether the Bible is the word of God, but whether it is the 'definitive' word of God. His truth can and does reside in other places than the Bible.

I think it is important to remember that the Bible is not an authority unto itself. The authority belongs to God, not the book. It is altogether dangerous to make an idol of scripture. What if I misinterpret or misapply a passage, and then assign the full 'authority of Scripture' to my mistake? The further I go, the less faith I place in sola scriptura.

Oh geez, are they going to kick me out of evangelical protestantism?

scot

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“Here, we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” - Thomas Jefferson


Posts: 9513 | From: Southern California | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Bonzo
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# 2481

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Freddy

If you're saying that the 'word' in John chapter 1 equates to both Jesus and the Bible. I have to say that that I don't believe that he was writing about any part of the Bible but about Jesus alone.

However, if he was referring to anything written, it seems to me that it could not be the Bible in it's entirety as we currently know it, because the canon wasn't compiled by then (and is even today subject to much disagreement).

No, if he was referring to anything written, he was referring to any writing which is divinely inspired, and also the divinely inspired spoken word etc. which could apply to Christian books today. In other words not solely to the canon and not necessarily referring to all the canon. The same is true of the other instances where you say the Bible refers to itself as the word of God.

In short, if it refers to any written word, it refers to divine truth wherever it crops up, yesterday, today, tommorrow.

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Love wastefully


Posts: 1150 | From: Stockport | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Glenn Oldham
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# 47

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Ekalb,
Thanks for your cordial response to mine. I'm afraid that I have time only for a brief response to yours.

I’ll skip the original sin issue for the moment and focus on the issue of the book of Joshua’s portrayal of God as using the Israelites to exterminate the Canaanites, men women and children.

The reason this is a problem I that I find it hard to see it as other than very cruel to require people to kill others. This is perhaps especially so in the kind of very bloody close quarters way that is that it would then have been (though killing at a distance is dangerously desensitising. Such an experience is often traumatising. I find it extremely problematic to worship a God capable of that kind of thing when he could have done things differently. If God wanted the Canaanites dead, he could have accomplished it himself without getting human agents to do it for him. He is indeed seen by the writers of Genesis, Exodus and Numbers as thoroughly capable of this. There is, for example, the story of the flood. Even more pertinently there are the accounts of God wishing to personally and directly destroy the Israelites in the wilderness (Exodus 32:9-10 and Numbers 14:14). I am unable to find sufficient reason for him not to do likewise in the case of the Canaanites.

And could he not have given the land to Israel peacefully? I agree that the issue of free will is a difficult one but the OT God seems to disregard it at times. He does after all, harden men’s hearts on quite a few occasions. Why could he not have softened them?

I hope to say a little shortly in response to Freddy’s appeal for exposition of a middle ground position between inerrancy and total scepticism about the bible.
Glenn

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This entire doctrine is worthless except as a subject of dispute. (G. C. Lichtenberg 1742-1799 Aphorism 60 in notebook J of The Waste Books)


Posts: 910 | From: London, England | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Freddy
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# 365

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quote:
Originally posted by Bonzo:
if he was referring to anything written, it seems to me that it could not be the Bible in it's entirety as we currently know it, because the canon wasn't compiled by then (and is even today subject to much disagreement).
No, if he was referring to anything written, he was referring to any writing which is divinely inspired.

Now you're getting closer to where I can agree!

In one sense, the Word of God is a universal thing, covering virtually all writing and speech that is consistent with love to God and love to the neighbor. Everything that is good and true is inspired by God.

But in its more usual and stricter sense the Word of God is limited to what can legitimately be called "divine revelation" or messages received somehow directly from God. The real problem with this is establishing its legitimacy. I can claim that everything I write is from divine revelation, but who would believe me?

But perhaps the real question is whether there IS such a thing as divine revelation - that is, a message received and accurately transcribed into writing, or otherwise communicated to others, that is actually directly from God. Does this really happen?

In any case, when Jesus referred to the Word of God, or to the Scriptures, He was, I agree, often speaking in a broad sense about the Divine Truth itself. But "the Scriptures" and the "Word of God" that He refers to also have a very specific meaning, since it is obvious that He literally means the Law and the Prophets, as well as the Psalms.

Does Jesus also mean "the Gospel" when He speaks about those who receive the Word? "Repent and believe in the Gospel" are the first words He says in the gospel of Mark. Of course it is true that the gospel had not yet been written when He said that.

But the fact that the written Bible as we know it was not complete when Jesus spoke about the "Word of God" is not really an issue. As to its real message the Word is the same from beginning to end, although it is far more obscure and easy to misunderstand the farther back you go. So even having a part of the Bible would sufficient for Jesus to make those statements. They would apply to the rest later, as they were written and gathered.

Moses strictly commanded Israel, "You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take anything from it" (Deuteronomy 4.2). And he says this 270 pages into a book that is now 1809 pages long! In one sense they paid no attendtion to Moses and added 1600 more pages. But in another sense nothing was added - because the message throughout is the same.

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg


Posts: 12829 | From: Bryn Athyn | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Bonzo
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# 2481

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quote:

In one sense, the Word of God is a universal thing, covering virtually all writing and speech that is consistent with love to God and love to the neighbor. Everything that is good and true is inspired by God.

But in its more usual and stricter sense the Word of God is limited to what can legitimately be called "divine revelation" or messages received somehow directly from God. The real problem with this is establishing its legitimacy. I can claim that everything I write is from divine revelation, but who would believe me?


What an interesting idea.

And one with which I couldn't disagree more!

You started off well when you said in one sense that 'The Word' applied to 'all writing and speech that is consistent with love to God and love to the neighbor' (I would have added deeds too).

But then you bugger it up by saying that divine revelation is something different from this.

Jesus refers to the books of the OT and uses the passages he is quoting as truth in some cases, but then he says things like 'You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy." But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you'. He's not saying that every part of the OT is the Word of God, rather, he explicitly corrects some of it.

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Love wastefully


Posts: 1150 | From: Stockport | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Freddy
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# 365

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quote:
Originally posted by Bonzo:
He's not saying that every part of the OT is the Word of God, rather, he explicitly corrects some of it.

I would say He was explicitly explaining it. But the explanation, it is true, involved correction as well. Still, He did maintain that He came not to destroy but to fulfil the Law.

The pattern, as I understand it, is to gradually move from a more simplistic and childlike explanation to a more sophisticated one.

But I understand you to be saying that there is nothing that we could call divine revelation, other than the inspiration that all people may receive from God. Is this right?

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg


Posts: 12829 | From: Bryn Athyn | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
ekalb
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# 2642

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glen,

First, I just want to say that I appreciate your 'cordial' responses too.

I will admit that there are some verses of scripture that, as a Christian who holds to inerrancy, I just wish weren't there. They are 'problem passages', for lack of a better term.

But if you will note that I did finish my post explaining that my purpose is to show that one can hold to inerrancy while being epistemologically responsible.

I can't completely answer the question, -'Why did God use the Hebrews to kill a bunch of Canaanites?', But no more than can an 'errantist' answer the scripture references that explicitly declare the unique and flawless quality of the scriptures or Christ's interpretation of the OT as literal and completely authoritative.

I'm NOT saying that there aren't reasonable answers that might support 'errancy' to the above questions, - I know that there are. But I am saying that there are also reasonable answers to support 'innerancy'.

So where does that leave us? Well, without denying the value of this debate, I would say that innerancy is something that I take primarily on faith. I have found that it is NOT illogical and unreasonable to believe innerancy. Furthermore, (and as an existential argument) I would say that my faith greatly benefits from my innerancy-belief. I think it is more faithful to the views of the OT prophets, NT apostles, and CHrist Himself to accept the Bible as innerant.

So, like I have been saying, no one can give undeniable 'proof' that the Bible is innerant, but for those that believe it is, they can be fully justified in that belief.
Again, holding to inerrancy is NOTHING like believing in the tooth fairy. The former can be justified on a rational basis, the latter cannot.

Hence, [trying to get back to your post] I have argued that God is justified to kill the Canaanites for their sin.
You object with a question: Why can't God just kill the Canaanites Himself? Well, you rightly point out the instances in scripture where God does indeed 'take matters into His own hands'. But I still don't see any force to your argument. So, God sometimes uses men to enact His will, sometimes He does it Himself, sometimes He even uses donkeys, - So what?
I'm afraid the argument is non sequitur.

On the issue of free will/divine sovereignty, I will just say that I could very easily take one scripture out of either testaments to exemplify a given situation that 'seems' to explicitly 'proove' either human freedom or divine sovereignty. Both are true but both cannot co-exist in our minds easily at all. It is a classical example of antinomy. Once again I suggest that we could discuss this on another thread.

So little time and so many posts to reply to. [sigh]

I would like to hear back from you Glen....

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"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please."
- Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)


Posts: 347 | From: Purgatory (Canada) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
ekalb
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# 2642

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mousetheif,

My response:

You say that the belief that babies are 'innocent' has always been held by the Orthodox church. Just a quick question: Is this the 'institution' with a capital "O", or are you referring to what the Church (universal) has held to?

I will await your answer for that one, but let's get on to the real issue.

If I am interpreting you correctly (forgive me if I am not), you seem to be saying that there is a difference between 'guilt' and 'falleness'. I don't really disagree with you on that, rather I disagree with the conclusion you draw out of that.

True, the ability/disposition to sin cannot be held against someone as guilt. But I would say that the cause(falleness/disposition towards sin) will always lead to the effect (sin itself), and therefore gulit of sin. The bottom line is this: babies go to heaven if they die NOT because they are 'innocent', rather it is because they are not 'accountable'. Further, sin is not something you "do", instead it is a lack of something (i.e. murder is a lack of forgiveness; lying is a lack of truth-telling, etc.)

I really have a problem with your scripture "proof". While it is true that Jesus may very well have been saying that children (under the age of moral-accountability) belong to heaven, it in NO way means that humanity is "ok" with God until a certain age.

Don't ignore the rest of the biblical witness if you want to "proove" something with any piece of it. St. Paul explicitly says that "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of GOd."

Humans are born with the "deficiency" of sin. It is an illness. The symptoms are lust, hate, lying, murder,etc, but the illness itself is the reason we are 'spiritually-sick' towards God. This is why the gospel is so freeing. Jesus didn't die and rise so that I wouldn't lust, hate, etc, etc, instead Jesus died and rose so that I would be 'spiritually-healthy'. The symptoms of spiritual health are love, compassion, purity, etc. etc.
The difference is HUGE. So, babies don't necessarily exhibit the symptoms of the illness, but they are infected. They are saved by God, because they are not old enough to choose/reject the cure.

But this thread isn't about original sin, now is it?

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"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please."
- Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)


Posts: 347 | From: Purgatory (Canada) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Callan
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# 525

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Originally posted by Freddy:

quote:
What about Augustine?

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“You recall that one and the same Word of God extends throughout Scripture, that it is one and the same Utterance that resounds in the mouths of all the sacred writers, since he who was in the beginning God with God has no need of separate syllables; for he is not subject to time.” - Augustine of Hippo, 5th century
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It amazes me that anyone could think that the idea of Scripture being the Word of God is a reformation idea. It is stated word for word in both the Old and the New Testament.


Saying that the Word of God extends through Scripture is not the same as saying that Scripture is the Word of God. Augustine's position has been neatly summed up, by J.J. O'Donnell, as follows.

quote:
In this world, this faith is manifest, above all, in Christ. Before Christ there had been intimations, and after him reactions; but Christ himself is the Word of God itself. His incarnation is the central act of revelation. Second to Christ in the worldly order, there is the church, endowed expressly by Christ with the authority of the spirit and, in Christ's absence, designated the arbiter of Christian doctrine. Third in order comes scripture, with the New Testament holding the key for a proper reading of the Old.

This site gives more details of Augustine's position.

In fairness, Freddy, I suspect that your definition of inerrancy and Augustine's view of Scripture are not miles apart. But to suggest that the Reformed view of Scripture as the Word of God and Augustine's view of Scripture as containing or pointing to the Word of God is to confuse two quite distinct view points.

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How easy it would be to live in England, if only one did not love her. - G.K. Chesterton


Posts: 9677 | From: Citizen of the World | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Spong

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quote:
Originally posted by Polly:
IMO scripture must be treated like any other "historical" writing. That is give it the benefit of doubt until proven otherwise.

In a court of law we wouldn't say someone is guilty on the face of a statement but cross examine it with other means.


Very good points, in (IMHO) a very good post, though I agree with the previous post that history does not, in fact, give the benefit of the doubt in this way. But great that you want to approach it in a historical and evaluating way. In that case, I would really REALLY recommend you get hold of the book I rerferred to before 'The Meaning of Jesus'. It's written by NT Wright and Marcus Borg. The former is a moderately conservative and evangelical writer, the latter a more radical one. They have a lot of respect for each other, and put forward their opposing views on who Jesus was, what he did, how he died, what the resurrection was/meant. I'm sure you would really get a lot from it, and it fits the criteria you set out here absolutely perfectly.

quote:
This is all I have tried to say to you and others. If it is a problem with you and your faith instead of reading it at face value try to find out the whole context of it and if you still come to teh same conclusion then you cross that bridge if and whne you get to it.

I think, really, that's what many of us are trying to say to you too. I take the point that Mrs Tubbs makes that people often read what they agree with rather than what they disagree with. Having said that, I was recommended to Wright as someone I (as a liberal) would be able to read without spitting, but who would challenge my views, and I've found that very useful.

The real problem I have with people like Colson and Strobel isn't that they are evangelical, it's that they are not scholars. You need to read people who actually know the arguments and can give you views on them.

You ask at one point for the qualifications of those who are responding to you. I don't want to claim too much for mine, but Readers have a three year training that at least gives us an appreciation of how little we know at the end of it... Maybe it would help if I gave a VERY brief snapshot of some of the basic views of some of the Bible held by the mainstream of academics.

The first five books come from a variety of sources, often contradictory. They were edited together during or after the exile; ie around 500BC, many centuries after the events recorded.

There are two separate main threads of history, the Deuteronomic history and the Chronicler's history, which again record separate traditions, and are not entirely compatible.

None of the gospels were written by apostles, though John may be a source for the gospel which bears his name. They are not independent: Luke and Matthew both drew on (and altered) Mark and another now lost source known as Q. The extent to which John knew the other gospels is debatable.

Paul almost certainly did not write the letters to Timothy or Titus, and may well not have written Colossians or Ephesians. 2 Corinthians is a patchwork of several bits from different letters, though probably all written by Paul.

Peter didn't write 2 Peter and quite probably didn't write 1 Peter. The John who wrote the epistles isn't the John behind the gospel, nor is the John who wrote Revelation.

That, if you like, is the academic mainsteam view of the background in which the debate about the Bible takes place. But given that consensus it's hard to see how or why the Bible would be the inerrant word of God. It's certainly a place where we find God speaking to us, IMO, but it doesn't mean we have to defend every single word as being precisely what God wanted it to be. It just doesn't seem to be that sort of book.

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Spong

The needs of our neighbours are the needs of the whole human family. Let's respond just as we do when our immediate family is in need or trouble. Rowan Williams


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Bonzo
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quote:

Originally posted by ekalb

I can't completely answer the question, -'Why did God use the Hebrews to kill a bunch of Canaanites?', But no more than can an 'errantist' answer the scripture references that explicitly declare the unique and flawless quality of the scriptures or Christ's interpretation of the OT as literal and completely authoritative.

I'm NOT saying that there aren't reasonable answers that might support 'errancy' to the above questions, - I know that there are. But I am saying that there are also reasonable answers to support 'innerancy'.


I'm sorry, but I just can't let you get away with this.

You say that you can't find an answer to the question 'Why did God use the Hebrews to kill a bunch of Canaanites?'.

Then you say 'I am saying that there are also reasonable answers to support innerancy'.

You admit to a gap in your reasoning, a point which you just can't answer. Then you insist your argument is reasonable!

You also say 'But no more than can an errantist answer the scripture references that explicitly declare the unique and flawless quality of the scriptures or Christ's interpretation of the OT as literal and completely authoritative.'

You haven't pointed out one single logical flaw in an the 'errantist' argument. There have been 100% rational arguments presented to explain Christ's interpretation of the OT, which you have been unable to refute. But an 'errantist' wouldn't even need to make those arguments, he could just say that it's not rational to try to prove that the Bible is inerrant by using what the the Bible says about itself. That in itself is a rational explanation.

Is your real problem that you don't want to accept that the Bible might have errors, because you think that would damage your faith?

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Love wastefully


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gkbarnes
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# 1894

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quote:

The first five books come from a variety of sources, often contradictory. They were edited together during or after the exile; ie around 500BC, many centuries after the events recorded.

There are two separate main threads of history, the Deuteronomic history and the Chronicler's history, which again record separate traditions, and are not entirely compatible.

None of the gospels were written by apostles, though John may be a source for the gospel which bears his name. They are not independent: Luke and Matthew both drew on (and altered) Mark and another now lost source known as Q. The extent to which John knew the other gospels is debatable.

Paul almost certainly did not write the letters to Timothy or Titus, and may well not have written Colossians or Ephesians. 2 Corinthians is a patchwork of several bits from different letters, though probably all written by Paul.

Peter didn't write 2 Peter and quite probably didn't write 1 Peter. The John who wrote the epistles isn't the John behind the gospel, nor is the John who wrote Revelation.

[/QB]


Have to disagree with you there.

What you say on the first 5 books of the Bible, sounds like the JepD theory. See here for reasons why it is wrong (in my opinion).

The early Church Farthers didn't doubt that the New Testenment was written by whoever (either Mathew, Mark, Luke, John, James, Paul and Jude).

You can see the rest of the site above by cliking here.


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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Yaffle:
In fairness, Freddy, I suspect that your definition of inerrancy and Augustine's view of Scripture are not miles apart. But to suggest that the Reformed view of Scripture as the Word of God and Augustine's view of Scripture as containing or pointing to the Word of God is to confuse two quite distinct view points.

Hmmm. Maybe I am closer to Augustine's view.

I have stated numerous times that I do not believe in a literal interpretation of Scripture.

I don't think that God Himself really commanded the slaughter of Philistines, or was angry with Israel, or "repented" of having made man.

The Divine Truth is contained within the letter of Scripture. The letter is still holy and Divine, but only because of the truth that lies within it - to be opened, as Jesus opened up many of the laws of Moses, by intelligent and consistent interpretation.

So maybe we agree after all.

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg


Posts: 12829 | From: Bryn Athyn | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Bonzo
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quote:

But I understand you to be saying that there is nothing that we could call divine revelation, other than the inspiration that all people may receive from God. Is this right?


Freddy,

I'm saying that when John refers to 'the Word', if he is, in any way, alluding to written revelation (in addittion to refering to Christ), then he is alluding to any and all written divine revelation (and probably to speech and deeds too) and there is no reason to suggest that he treats the Bible as a special category of written revelation.

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Love wastefully


Posts: 1150 | From: Stockport | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Bonzo:
there is no reason to suggest that he treats the Bible as a special category of written revelation.

Here I was getting all cozy with you and feeling that we agreed on just about everything...

"No reason to suggest" that John treats the Bible as a special category? This might be true if John did not use the word "logos" elsewhere. But He uses it about twenty more times, in various contexts. It is used over two hundred times in the rest of the gospels.

I would think that the logical way to investigate this would be to look at how John and the other gospel writers used the word "logos" and draw conclusions from this as to what John meant by "logos" in John 1.

In John the word "logos" is used 22 times. Most of these references are to Jesus' own words, as in the phrase, "If you continue in my word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free." John 8.31

Five times John makes reference to "His word" or "Thy word," as in "But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, you do not believe" (John 5.38). Several times Jesus identifies His own words with the words of the Father (John 12.49, 14.24, 17.14).

Twice He is referring explicitly to the Hebrew Scriptures: "He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken)." John 10.35

In other gospels the "logos" refers even more explicitly to the Law and the Prophets, such as where Jesus criticizes the leadership for making "the word of God of none effect" (Mark 7.13).

So there is not "no reason to suggest" that Jesus and John identified the "word" with the Scriptures. You are correct in saying that the Word in its essence is the Divine Truth, and that this is the real meaning whenever John or any of the other gospel writers use the term. However, they all also specifically identify the term with the Scriptures and the specific words of Jesus.

I am with you in saying that the "Word of God" is something much bigger than can be contained in any book. It is a large concept, and one that shows itself in a variety of ways. But you can't say that John and the other gospel writers do not also identify the Scriptures in a special way with the term.

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg


Posts: 12829 | From: Bryn Athyn | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gauk
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Have to agree with Mike here. The synopsis of biblical authorship is based on sound historical study, whereas the "rebuttal" linked by gkbarnes is superficial and tendentious.

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Now the Sirens have a still more fatal weapon than their song, namely their silence ... it is conceivable that someone might possibly have escaped from their singing; but from their silence certainly never.

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Bonzo
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Well we really aren't far apart. I haven't said that John's meaning when he uses logos is not a reference to divine truth in scripture. I have just said that in his opening paragraph (in the beginning was the word etc.) he uses it to mean Christ not scripture.

Now, possibly he means to play on words identifying Christ with divine truth and in other parts of the gospel he uses logos to refer to the divine truth in scripture. However that doesn't mean he is singling scripture out as a special source of divine truth. Nor is he saying that all of scripture is divine truth. He is just saying that scripture is one of many sources of divine truth, Christ himself being another, the words of God the Father revealed to Jesus being another and the word of God living in mens hearts being another.

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Love wastefully


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Freddy
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Agreed.

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

Posts: 12829 | From: Bryn Athyn | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gauk
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Seems fair enough to me!

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Now the Sirens have a still more fatal weapon than their song, namely their silence ... it is conceivable that someone might possibly have escaped from their singing; but from their silence certainly never.

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