I wrote: Isn't it possible that He deliberately chose to use Hebrew words
with broad enough meanings to permit Gen. 1 to be understood in a "poetic"
way by the ancient Hebrews, and then later on be understood in a
scientifically accurate way by modern people possessing a knowledge of
J Burgeson replied: I suppose that is a possibility. If true, it would imply
that he had in mind to deliberately confuse us. That, too, is a possibility,
but one which I don't think is worth while following.
Cut me a break. The Bible contains many passages which were, in the opinion
of many Bible scholars, clearly intended by God to be understood at different
times in different ways. Have you heard of "types" and "antitypes"? Have you
heard of "primary" and "secondary" fulfillment's of prophecy?
But putting such things aside, the simple truth of the matter is that strong
evidence indicates that the Bible was, in fact, deliberately written in a way
that would at times confuse many of its readers. Though you say that
possibility is one which you
don't think is worth while considering.
The fact that the Bible contains many apparent "contradictions" is one
example. When I first got on the Net I had many E mail conversations with
Bible critics. They would usually first present me with two or three
so-called "Bible contradictions." They would tell me that if I could help
them resolve those few "contradictions" then they might be able to seriously
consider what the Bible has to say about Jesus Christ. But after I clearly
showed them that the "Bible contradictions" they had presented me were really
not contradictions at all they only threw more of such "contradictions" at
me. And so it went.
The real question for Christians seems to be, "If the Bible is really the
word of God why is it so filled with things for critics to criticize and even
Christians themselves to have trouble with?" To find the answer to this
question it helps if we understand that Jesus Christ Himself is the God of
the Bible. He is not just the God of the New Testament but He was in fact
also the great "I Am" of the Old Testament.(John 8:58)
How does that help us answer this question? Let's remember how Jesus taught.
Mark tells us that whenever Jesus spoke to crowds of people which contained
both His friends and His enemies, "He did not say anything to them without
using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples he explained
everything. " (Mark 4:34) Why did Jesus speak in parables? Why did He go to
all the trouble of telling such often hard to understand stories to crowds
which gathered to hear Him speak? Was the purpose of the parables to help all
who listened to Jesus come to clearly understand the deep things of God? No,
it was not. In fact often Jesus' purpose in speaking the way that He did was
just the opposite. Jesus told His disciples, "The knowledge of the secrets of
the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables,
so that though seeing they may not see and though hearing they may not
understand." (Luke 8:10, see also Mt. 13:10-15)
Jesus understood that many of His listeners had hearts hardened against Him,
and from such people, through the use of parables, He deliberately withheld
"the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God." He did so by
incorporating into those parables elements which He knew His enemies would
find fault with and the spiritually lazy would end up stumbling over.
Now, remember our Lord is the same "yesterday, today and forever," is He not?
Is it any wonder then that He caused the Bible to be written in the same way
that He, as Jesus Christ, spoke to audiences which contained both His friends
and His enemies? Remember, He did so in a way that would give His enemies
opportunity to find fault, the spiritually lazy opportunity to stumble and
His true disciples opportunity to gain "the knowledge of the secrets of the
kingdom of God." And the Bible's audience is made up of the same kinds of
people who listened to Jesus' parables, is it not? And since the entire Bible
was inspired by the speaker of those parables, doesn't it make sense that the
entire Bible was written in the same way that those parables were spoken? In
a way that would give God's enemies opportunity to find fault, spiritually
lazy people opportunity to stumble and the pure of heart opportunity to learn
"the secrets of the kingdom of God."
So, while God's enemies are spending their time criticizing the Bible, and
the spiritually lazy stumble over some of its more difficult passages, rather
than spending the time in study and prayer required to understand them, God's
friends are being helped by His Holy Spirit to understand "the secrets of the
kingdom of God."
By the way, several of Christ's parables were clearly designed to teach on
more than one level. The idea that the Author of those parables could have
also intended for Gen. 1 to teach in much the same way, to me, seems not only
reasonable but quite likely.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Wed May 29 2002 - 23:46:09 EDT