Re: The Whole Bible Revealed in Zechariah (was Re: NT truth (formerly inerrancy?))

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Fri Jan 16 2004 - 17:56:53 EST wrote:
> > >
> > > I agree with everything you wrote, except "these are not 3 different
> Words
> > > of God but 1" - I am confused because this does not differentiate Jesus
> > > Christ as the living Word of God from the Bible as the written Word of
> God.
> > > Did I miss something?
> >
> > The Bible functions as the Word of God when it proclaims Christ and/or
> supports
> > the proclamation of Christ. ("The whole of Scripture is one book, and
> that one book is
> > Christ" - Hugh of St. Victor.) But it does _not_ function as the Word of
> God when used
> > in other ways - as a club with which to beat infidels over the head, as a
> science text
> > to tell about the structure or age of the earth, as a timetable for the
> end of the
> > world, &c. The Bible isn't unique in this regard. If I imagined that The
> Origin of
> > Species was really a coded critique of Victorian society, I would not be
> reading it as
> > "the word of Darwin" - in spite of Darwin's authorship - because I
> wouldn't be using it
> > for the purpose for which Darwin intended it.
> > Shalom,
> > George
> >
> I agree with the intent but disagree with the ontologically relativistic
> definition. To use your Dawin example - the Origin of Species is
> *objectively* the Word of Darwin regardless of how it is used or abused.
> This is its absolute ontological status. The abuse would merely occlude
> perception of what is really there. Proper use would reveal the true
> thoughts and intents of Darwin (in as much as he adequated expressed them).
> The same holds for the Bible as the witten Word of God. Abuse of the text
> does not change its ontological status as the Word of God.

        First & most importantly, the primary sense of "The Word of God" is the Second
Person of the Trinity who became incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth. Any other proper use
of the term must be related to this. If you prefer to say that the Bible is the Word of
God & is misinterpreted if it is not understood to refer to Christ then I won't put up a
big fight.
        But this isn't the best way to think of the matter. There is _one_ Word of God,
not a lot of "words of God." (Note that the prophetic formula is always "The word of
the LORD came to ..." & not "the words of the LORD ...".) Thus in speaking about
the Bible, "word" - dabhar or logos - should be understood as "message" rather than as
isolated linguistic units. & if the message is misunderstood then it isn't the "Word of
God" that has been grasped.
        Better, because more to the point than my Darwin example, is Irenaeus criticism
of the way the Gnostics tried to support their speculative teachings from the NT by
piecing together a few words from one passage, a few from another, &c.

        "Their manner of acting is just as if one, when a beautiful image of a king has
been constructed by some skillful artist out of precious jewels, should then take this
likeness of the man all to pieces, should re-arrange the gems, and so fit them together
as to make them into the form of a dog or of a fox, and even that poorly executed; and
should then maintain and declare that /this/ was the beautiful image of the king which
the skillful artist constructed, pointing to the jewels which had been admirably fitted
together by the first artist ..."
                                                (Against Heresies, Book 1, Ch.8)

        The point of course is that while the jewels were indeed those used by the
original artist, the picture of the dog or fox is not the picture produced by that

        Caveats: 1) I am not saying that the individual words of scripture aren't
important. They are.
        2) One doesn't have to read all of Gen.1:1-Rev.22:21 to be able to say "The
Word of the Lord." But calling any portion of it that (properly speaking) assumes its
connection with the whole. When the monks talk about /lectio divina/, the "divine
reading" of scripture they have an idea of a kind of holographic character of scripture,
so that the whole is in each part. But that's a kind of mystical idea which is hard to
pin down in a doctrinal statement.




George L. Murphy
Received on Fri Jan 16 18:07:46 2004

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