Brian Bull and Fritz Guy correctly anticipated that their first three presentations would prompt questions about the inspiration of the Bible. They therefore devoted the whole of their fourth presentation to this subject.
Many people begin with an abstract doctrine of inspiration and deductively apply it to the biblical texts. They unfolded their series the other way around. They began with the biblical texts and from them they inductively developed a theory of inspiration. They did not begin by telling us what the Bible would be like if it were from God and then insist that this is the way it is. They began by letting the Bible speak for itself and then they tried to make their theory fit with what it says. They tried to follow the biblical evidence instead of trying to make it follow them.
It seemed to me that at least three themes emerged. The first of them is that the Bible as we now have it is the contribution of many people in many places over many centuries. The second is that their purposes were practical. They selected, polished, and gathered together representative pieces of literature in many different genres which over and over again they found "useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16 NRSV). The third is that those who first produced these documents were certainly inspired (“God-breathed”). However, in a different sense so were all the others down the long line even though there will always be those who will wonder if the previous generations always got everything exactly right.
My question: So what if they didn't?
My view is that a dead-end awaits us whenever we travel down a street asking each which artistic, literary, scientific, and religious results of human effort are inspired by God and which aren't. In so far as they are excellent, they all are. In so far as they are the opposite, they all aren't. The difference between the Bible and Bach is not that the first is inspired by God and the second isn't. They both are inspired, albeit for different purposes. The biblical writings are inspired by God. Bach's music is inspired by God. Yet they are inspired by God for different purposes in the church and in the world. This difference is huge!
Enjoy their presentation!
Watch Brian Bull and Fritz Guy on "Genesis 1 and Modern Science" (Part 4):
Dr. David Larson is Professor of Religion at Loma Linda University.
Image Credit: Video Still
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