faithfulness vs factualness

Date: Fri Oct 04 2002 - 14:22:41 EDT

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    >From time to time I encounter the assertion that "the Bible is true".
    Being a scientist, I am reluctant to use that word (true) even for
    physical laws (where it could be most reliably applied). I think a
    better word to describe a book like the Bible is "faithful".

    But this leads me to the issue that has surfaced here recently.
    What I see at stake in claiming that some NT passages are PURE
    fabrication (with ONLY a theological point to make) is the lack of
    coherence that introduces to the writing.

    YEC folk have an incoherent view of science, but they do understand
    that an incoherent Bible has little to say to anyone. Insisting that the
    Bible is a "a book of facts" strikes me as irrational, but claiming
    that a witness of extreme events is actually a fabrication (by any other
    name) but we should still believe its authority on our lives anyway is
    also bordering on being irrational.

    Buddhism has some powerful spiritual concepts that I definitely respect.
    The timeless works of Shakespeare or Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
    are wonderful stories, or the ancient writings from China like the
    Westward Journey are gems of that culture. They have all changed
    me in some ways, but I don't believe in them.

    I'm not insisting that the Peter walked on the water and this
    discussion has persuaded me to recognize the value of literary
    embellishment (be it for theological reasons or for impressing a
    moral point), but if Peter did not even jump out of the boat, then
    it is hard for me to see how I can do more than mince words for

    I am not persuaded that the conclusion (that the biblical
    passage is a mere tale told whole cloth) is a reasonable way
    to negotiate the fundamental question. Yes we should ask
    these questions, but at least SOME factualness combined
    with SOME possible embellishment (for theological purposes,
    etc.) would render a more coherent witness of the events of
    Jesus life. As I say, they don't have to be "factoids", but they
    do have to be faithful.

    by Grace alone we proceed,

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