Please explain how someone can think certain parts of a book are not trustworthy, but somehow you can trust the rest of it?

I am having difficulty understanding how anyone could be able to state, “The Bible can not be trusted in areas of history or science, but we can discern the theological truths which God wants us to have,” and NOT believe HE is putting his thoughts and feelings, desires, and experiences as the final arbiter of what God has said to us, and what parts of the Bible can be trusted and/or obeyed. Yet, this is what I am seeing with someone who suggests that I am putting too much emphasis on the written word and not enough on the living Word.

He wants to put the subjective above the objective. Any experience and/or spirit must be tested against what God has said. IF it is disagreement with what God has sone, then it is not from God. If you can not fully trust what God has said, then how do you know God even exists, let alone whether what is claimed to be the word of God actually IS the word of God? And if it IS the word of God, but is in error, then what kind of a god do you follow?

It is beyond me how someone can claim Jesus as the living Word if God is not able to be trusted in the little details like who did what when, and whether the science presented in the Bible is accurate. If God can not be trusted to get little things like the mustard seed right in Mark 4:31, how can God be trusted in the big things like God sent His Son to be born, live a sinless life, suffer and die to pay the price of our sins, was killed and buried and rose again on the third day?

To believe one part of the Bible can not be trusted, yet somehow you are smart enough to be able to discern which other parts of the Bible CAN be trusted is to put yourself in the place of God. It rejects the power, love, and authority of God and puts YOUR authority above God’s. Or, if you don’t think you are doing that, then at best it is logically inconsistent, and intellectually dishonest. Because it can either be trusted or it can not be. If you claim part of it can not be trusted, then no part of it can be trusted with 100% assurance – and therefore no part of it can be trusted.

So, yes. The Living Word is of critical importance, but without the written word, you would not know whether it was Christ or a demon you were talking to. But how does one say it cant be trusted but they can figure out the parts that are true?


9 Responses

  1. wb,
    It has taken a long time really, but Christianity is beginning to see that the Holy Scripture is not really about hard science, or even literal history. But it is about the spiritual and theological history of God’s revelation to man or humanity. This does not mean that scripture is not able in any area, but it simply means (to me at least). That God is concerned with human salvation, both now and in eternity. In the end, Scripture always speaks on its own terms, perhaps here is the reality of that existential place – existence precedes essence. And here fallen man cannot escape this paradox, nor his science. But God is the author of HIS Word!
    Fr. R.

    • Fr. Robert,

      You and I disagree. The way I see is it that God is all about bringing people to a point where they choose for or against Him. What matters MOST is whether you love God and love others (as God has defined it). But if what is claimed to be the word of God can not be trusted in details of science and history, then none of it can be trusted. Oh, it can be used, but not implicitly trusted.

      I’ll give an example. Let us say you know someone who is a liar, but so far as you know, only lies about rain. So you try to interact with this person realizing that when dealing with rain he can’t be trusted. So when ever you come to something dealing with rain, you ignore it. But then it turns out he was not lying one time and a flash flood came and washed away your home and killed your family – all because you could not trust this person when it came to rain. Additionally, if he can not be trusted when it comes to rain, what makes it possible to trust him when it comes to sun? What makes it possible to trust him when it comes to his past, or future, or anything? If someone can’t be trusted, then they can’t be trusted.

  2. The Bible can be trusted completely. If you don’t have faith in God’s word, than you are putting your faith (and eternal soul) into the hands of man, who is not holy and can NOT be trusted. You must read the Bible completely, not just pick and chose the verses that appeal to you. If you truely study the Bible, your questions will be answered and your eyes will be opened. One theory that proves the existance of God is ironically put forth by science, although most refuse to see it. This is the so called “big bang” theory. First science states that matter cannot be created, only changed from one state to another. It also states that before the “big bang” there was nothing. It therefore stands to reason that some intellegence had to create matter. It’s remarkable how the 1st chapter of Genesis tells explains what it took man over 2000 years to arrive at. “In the beginning when God “created” the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep”

  3. I think you are correct, Michael. I think that if someone claims something is against what God’s word states, then either their understanding of the facts is insufficient, or their interpretation is.

    I’ve seen many question the trustworthiness of the BIble. I used to do so. But it turns out that its pretty easy to provide plausible explanations to people’s objections.

  4. wb,
    First, this is really a poor and even false example, based upon a supposition that is outside of God’s Word itself. For God can and will speak thru His Word by the Holy Spirit, whenever and however HE chooses! God’s Word does not need our defense, as much as it just needs our use and belief. God will speak, He always does!

    Note, I did not say the Word of God cannot be trusted in history or in science, but that we must honor God’s own “genre” in this use. And I am not one that sees God’s word teaching critical modern history, or hard science. It does not teach against such, but that is not its aim, etc. I am not a fundamentalist myself.

    Fr. R.

  5. And for what it’s worth, I am an old earth guy myself. But these areas of doctrine, must be clear of overt dogma, save the truth of God’s creation.
    Fr. R.

  6. Ah Fr. Robert….

    Now you are speaking of the differences between inscripturation, illumination, inspiration, and revelation.
    I wrote a short post on that subject:

    Yes, God can and does speak through His word. But He can also speak in other ways. But all of it must be tested using what God has already revealed in His word. God does not contradict Himself, nor does He lie. I’ve seen the theological constructs people must make to make God’s word say what it does not, in the area of the age of the earth and others. I think its much easier to believe God.

    I’ve seen Christian models of a young earth that uses the same scientific data that old earthers use and they make just as much sense. :)

  7. wb,
    The question of the age of the earth is a rhetorical one to me. Just the exercise of thought, rather than real history or theology. It does not matter to my mind old or young. Though I am not at all Darwinian. I rather like the ID position, but again this is very secondary to me. I am a creationist, simple.
    Fr. R.

  8. If we cannot expect God to keep His delivered word preserved, and since we rely so much on this word, can we except Him to keep our souls?

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