Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

god's words

5/7/12

 

It is not unusual for people to say that they share God's words, God's message, when they point out Bible passages. The implication in these claims is clear- the words of God are by definition true, just, and inalterable; so all must acknowledge and submit.

These claims are, of course, transparently false; and, so, many rightfully dismiss the idea that God's words are transmitted through the mind and mouths of men. What is obvious to most is that the words of the Bible were recorded by men, canonized or vetted by men, translated by men, subsequently interpreted by men, and then disseminated by men. The entire process is under the ultimate control of men just like you and me. These men may have insights to share which can be valuable, but there is no room to insist that the product of so much human effort can be totally divine in its outcome.

It reminds me of the issue we address in our legal system, called chain of custody. Evidence must be properly safeguarded and maintained throughout the entire process of collection and transmission. Otherwise it is subject to alteration and invalidation. The same rule would apply to God's words. They cannot be handled by corrupting and corruptible agents and still retain their sanctity.

The traditional view of the Bible as the very words of God transmitted verbatim to all mankind is patently untenable for the very reason that fallible men have been involved at ever stage of the process. Fallibility does not breed infallibility. Ego driven humanity does not insure unadulterated truth.

If the true words of God are to enter the human consciousness, they will have to come directly from God without the aid of human intermediaries. There is no other way to insure the correct message and guarantee its universal transmission.

Another point to be made about the Bible is the fact that after it has been managed by man for these thousands of years, nothing about it can be used to validate its own veracity. In other words, the Bible cannot be self validating. That just naturally follows from the recognition that what we have is a product of human effort limited by all the frailties and biases to which humanity is subject. To propose that God somehow oversaw that effort and thereby insured its integrity is appealing for those whose theology demands inerrancy and infallibility, but there is no convincing evidence to support that proposal because the very evidence offered is the product of an obviously human and therefore questionable process.

Ultimately everyone is left to believe what they will about the Bible  No one is logically compelled by firm evidence to believe what the traditionalists teach about the Bible. Belief is a choice to believe, not a compulsion to believe. Choose what you will, but take careful note of the consequences of that choice, not in the hereafter but in the here and now.

 

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