These comments are made only to try to clarify the
points being made. Bear in mind, I am not saying that
any conclusions are wrong, I am trying to point out
the problems inherent in making the conclusions that
Jim tries to make. Ironically, I would probably
consider myself fairly conservative in terms of
Biblical interpretation, but I find the lack of a
semblance of appreciation of the problems of
interpretation hugely troublesome for the reasons
briefly touched upon below. Likewise, the persistent
name-calling associated with the advocacy of a
position does not make that position any more correct
(in fact, some would argue it underscores the weakness
of the claim).
Jim, you cannot be serious (nor could any conservative
theologian) in writing that "God wrote the Bible" as
if He physically put pen to paper. That is really a
huge definitional leap from the Bible consists of
God-inspired writings, written by human beings.
More fundamentally, where does the "Bible" say that
all the books of the Bible are written by God? Most
citations regarding the trustworthiness of scripture
are absolutely inapposite to the New Testament since
the books of the New Testament were not canonical
(indeed nothing was canonical before the church
councils) until well after the last document that is
contained in the New Testament was written.
Likewise, the Old Testament canon currently differs
among denominations and the definition of what a Jew
considered scripture between, say 100 BC and 200 AD,
depended upon the tradition of the Jew (obviously some
writings, such as the Pentateuch would be accepted by
all as scripture and canonical to the extent the Jews
worried about which writings were canonical, which is
to say not that much), because the particular Jewish
tradition determined what was "scripture" and the
ecumenical councils decided which New Testament books
to be included in the canon. Technically, there were
no New Testament scriptures, as such, before the
canonical councils. So, your assertion logically
falls on its face right there, unless you include at a
minimum another premise that God put into the heads of
the ecumenical councils the absolute truth about which
books to be included as part of the canon of the New
Testament (which I am not necessarily disputing).
Moreover, does your denomination include the Apocrypha
as part of the "Bible"? If not, on what basis would
you reject the books in the Apocrypha as NOT being
inspired by God?
I generally sympathize with your desire to have a
clear cut, bright line, but your view is really overly
simplistic in this regard.
Bear in mind, I am not saying that any book of the
Bible is not literally true nor that it is not
inspired by God (I think I am still staying away from
heresy so far). I am simply saying that none of your
arguments make it the actual case that a particular
book of the Bible is literally true however you
interpret what is a literal meaning of the text.
Neither does your assertion show that the books of the
Bible were inspired by God. You have an overly
simplistic conception of what constitutes the truth of
the text since there is no such thing as completely
literal or more appropriately self-evident meanings.
I am not one to call overly simplistic approaches to
complex issues as either sad or wrong -- indeed, the
result might be true. However, I find nothing
fruitful in dogmatically (I am using dogma in the
pejorative popular sense here) asserting that an
overly simplistic conclusion is self-evident, and do
find such assertions sad.
My biggest concern in these issues is that folks who
demand their particular literal interpretation of a
particular scripture play into the hands of skeptics
and atheists and helps them to be able to paint
Christianity as irrational or absurd. Simplistically,
you can say that this is God's will, but I am
extremely concerned as a Christian that my actions and
preconceptions do not drive away individuals from
faith in Jesus as the Christ.
You seem insistent that your version has to be the
true version and if someone does not see that, then
they are somehow defective. Likewise, you seem quite
untroubled that a person would either lose faith or
not come to Christ because they do not accept your
interpretation of any particular portion of the Bible.
This may not be the case, but it appears to be the
case and this is what I find sad.
Bear in mind, I am not saying that your conclusions
are wrong. Nor am I saying that all things in the
Bible are negotiable. Christianity does clearly make
some truth claims with a capital T.
I am saying that to expand those truth claims
unnecessarily and to assert or imply that those
additional truth claims are the central part of
Christianity or necessary for Christian faith is a
--- Jim Eisele <email@example.com> wrote:
> Terry writes
> >If I were to list for you all the
> >Biblical proof-texts and arguments that we
> Calvinists use to argue
> >that God controls everything even the minutest
> detail of his creation
> >(casting of the lot, hairs on the head, death of a
> sparrow, etc.),
> How sad is this? Not this part of Terry's post.
> The fact that Terry
> felt a need to post this. God
> A) Created the heavens and the earth
> B) Decides who's going to heaven
> Surely this list can do a better job of remembering
> that God is God.
> I will go a 1/2 step further. There are
> "conservatives" on this list.
> I, for one, find "liberal" theology brainless.
> "Conservative" theology - God wrote the Bible. It
> is truth.
> "Liberal" theology -
> See, I can't even come up with a definition!
> Jim Eisele
> Genesis in Question
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