RE: Something must change

Howard J. Van Till (
Fri, 14 Aug 1998 13:40:40 -0400


Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I trust you understood that my complaint
was not directed toward you personally.

You wrote:

>I guess it all starts with a person's assumptions on what the Bible is
>and how much direction God gave in the writing of it. Was the hand of
>man guided in what was written? Or, were the authors simply inspired
>with the general teachings that God wanted them to convey and then given
>room to add a little "nonsense" here and there about vegetarianism,
>great floods, the stopping of the earth for a day?

1) Yes, you are quite correct to identify them as 'assumptions.' As such,
they must be thoughtfully examined.

2) It was not "nonsense" to those who wrote it, but it could easily
generate nonsense if readers used it inappropriately at a much later time.
Good Bible study requires good preparation. Few of us today are
sufficiently acquainted with the Ancient Near Eastern world and its
literature to recognize half of what is going on textually in the Hebrew

> That would require each of us to "lean on our own understanding" in
>sifting through what the Bible says in order to separate "truth" from the
>author's lack of understanding of the natural world.

Yes, I think so. To fail to do so invites the propagation of error. It
sounds like you already came to realize this.

>I'm here to reach a comfortable state in my faith and strengthen my
>relationship with God and His Word.

My suggestion: Let the concept of "Word of God" be far more than an
equating of the biblical text (written in a conceptual vocabulary very
different from our own) with "His Word." Let it be the ongoing presence and
guidance of God as we reflect on all of human experience, including the
experience of becoming acquainted with the products of scientific reaearch.

> At this point in my search, I
>simply choose to have more trust in the ability of God to write a book
>which would speak truthfully to all ages of mankind, from the shepherd
>of Herod's time to the astro-physicist of today.

I suggest that your choice to refer to "the ability of God to write a book"
opens the door to the biblicism and bibliolatry of which I spoke in my
earlier post.


Howard Van Till