God Is Inerrant and Infallible, The Bible is Neither

(FrankieB) #61

Thanks Steve for the suggestion. What I have is great. That’ll do me. I like using food for medicine as much as I can. So much more in it than just for my hips. Great for the immune system and resistance to flus in the winter, etc. I understand why people always had the soup pot going on the oven with the bones in them. Can’t beat it.


Thanks for that. That’s not my understanding nor premise. It is in actuality yours.

(Patrick Travis) #63

I am sorry Paul for seeming to project that on you…but the question seemed to me to come from that thinking. Please accept my apologies. It was more of a rhetorical comment.

(Joshua David Goss) #64

This was a really great essay and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Keep writing legend.

Hebrews 1:1-4 (JB Phillips NT)

God, who gave our forefathers many different glimpses of the truth in the words of the prophets, has now, at the end of the present age, given us the truth in the Son. Through the Son God made the whole universe, and to the Son he has ordained that all creation shall ultimately belong. This Son, radiance of the glory of God, flawless expression of the nature of God, himself the upholding principle of all that is, effected in person the reconciliation between God and man and then took his seat at the right hand of the majesty on high—thus proving himself, by the more glorious name that he has won, far greater than all the angels of God.

(Frankmer7) #65

The idea of viewing God ordering the Israelites in the OT to carry out genocide as something that is ok, simply because God said so, defies all logic (it’s totally circular reasoning), and all moral sensibility. We roundly condemn radical Muslims flying planes into buildings or trucks into pedestrians shouting Allah Akbar, in order to destroy the enemies of God, who they deem the great satan. We say that isn’t ok because its the wrong god and the wrong theocracy, but YHWH gets a pass for ordering such in the OT for no other reason than the fact that…he’s YHWH?

To me, this is a problem with the way we read the bible. We take it as if it was recorded like modern history, when it really seems to reflect the shaping of Israel’s history through their lens of how they viewed YHWH’s interaction with them. Their views reveal little difference from the surrounding cultures and their views of their gods, who rewarded them with victory over their enemies in battle, and abandoned them to defeat and destruction if they were unfaithful. The OT was written within this type of cultural matrix. It was not written in a spiritual vacuum.

Jesus simply corrects and overturns some of these views. One of the most telling is the disciples request to call down fire on the Samaritans who rejected Jesus, in line with the calling down of fire on those who rejected and ridiculed Elisha, right out of the OT. Jesus rebukes them, and tells them that they don’t even know what spirit is motivating them.

Jesus’s ethic of loving ones enemies, blessing those who curse us, of overcoming evil with good, and finally giving his own life on the cross, gives a vastly different understanding of God than what is demonstrated in the OT writings. It is not a different God…but Jesus of Nazareth is the ultimate revelation of God, that in many ways burst the bounds of the OT narrative. John’s gospel, and Paul’s writings reveal this. It is why Paul could say, when speaking of a crucified Messiah:

"Eye has not seen, nor has ear heard, nor has it ever entered into the heart of man, the things that God has prepared for them that love him."

This was written by someone who knew the Hebrew scriptures better than all of us combined, and, he is shouting the absolute surprise climax of Israel’s story and scriptures of a crucified Messiah, something that he says that human beings, even those with the Scriptures, had never even contemplated. My sense is that even the NT writers could never simply deduce Jesus from the OT. But, after experiencing Jesus, they went back into the OT with totally new eyes, and re-read Israel’s story, and the human story, in terms of him.



(Harry Allen) #66

Thanks, @frank_merendino.

I’m not clear if what you’ve written was a response to what I wrote in post #38, or not. I wasn’t @-ed, nor was your text entered as a reply to mine.

You said:

In response:

Again, this reads as a decontextualized summary of the Canaanite campaign.

I’m not clear on the use of the word “genocide,” or even the word “ok,” in this setting.

At the base of this issue is a question: Is the God of the Bible real?

If so, does He have the right to take human life?

If so, does He have the right to order human beings to take human life at His command?

I’d argue that the answer to all three of these questions is “Yes.” I’d also say that, even more, the answers to both the 2nd and 3rd ones grow out of the preceding questions.

So, I’m unclear what the assumptions are that lead you to the conclusions your statement represents. I think that you are attempting to support it, by analogy, to Muslim jihad, but this does not hold, as stated below.

You said:

In response:

I’m going to quote philosopher William Lane Craig, here, who has written extensively, and perhaps spoken even more, about these subjects.

In his Question of the Week #16, “Slaughter of the Canaanites,” Craig compares the two religious systems that you also do, albeit differently:

Islam sees violence as a means of propagating the Muslim faith. Islam divides the world into two camps: the dar al-Islam (House of Submission) and the dar al-harb (House of War). The former are those lands which have been brought into submission to Islam; the latter are those nations which have not yet been brought into submission. This is how Islam actually views the world!

By contrast, the conquest of Canaan represented God’s just judgement upon those peoples. The purpose was not at all to get them to convert to Judaism! War was not being used as an instrument of propagating the Jewish faith. Moreover, the slaughter of the Canaanites represented an unusual historical circumstance, not a regular means of behavior.

Craig then adds:

If the Muslim thinks that our moral duties are constituted by God’s commands, then I agree with him. But Muslims and Christians differ radically over God’s nature. Christians believe that God is all-loving, while Muslims believe that God loves only Muslims. Allah has no love for unbelievers and sinners. Therefore, they can be killed indiscriminately. Moreover, in Islam God’s omnipotence trumps everything, even His own nature. He is therefore utterly arbitrary in His dealing with mankind. By contrast Christians hold that God’s holy and loving nature determines what He commands.

The question, then, is not whose moral theory is correct, but which is the true God?

You said:

In response:

Respectfully, this appears to be a gloss.

Also, I’m not clear what the point is of this paragraph. Is the idea that the Hebrew God is merely another anthropomorphic vision of Judaic territorial ambition? If so, then he doesn’t exist, and your disagreement is with the Israelites.

If you’re saying, “No, He’s real, but the Jews misheard His commands,” then I would, as before, say your disagreement is with the Israelites, and ask, “What, actually, were His commands?”

You said:

In response:

You cited this previously, Frank, and I’m still not clear how it compares to the elimination of the Canaanites. I’m not even clear how it compares with the story of Elisha, as you relate it: Where did he call down fire on those who rejected and ridiculed him?

You said:

In response:

I’m not saying the following about you, because you’re clearly a thoughtful person.

But I’ve always felt that such a summary was simplistic, and that people who see the OT this way hadn’t really read it, or hadn’t even read the Psalms.

There’s so much one can say about this oft comparison between the God of the OT and the God of the NT. The first, I’ve already said: They’re the same God.

The second is that everything God does to the Canaanites in the OT, He does to Christ on the cross in the NT, including kill Him.

Third: The NT—all of it—is unintelligible apart from the OT. It is literally the 2nd part of the OT. It is not a contradiction of the OT.

None of the NT’s authors, including Paul, whom you quote, below, describe Christ as either contradicting, rehabilitating the image of, or setting straight the excesses of the OT God. This angle is truly a modern spin; the rewriting and redefinition of a God who promises a final occupation of the Promised Land—the whole earth—that will make Canaan look like a kid’s birthday party, complete with a balloon-animal clown.

You said:

In response:

I agree that Jesus of Nazareth is the ultimate revelation of God, that in many ways bursts the bounds of the OT narrative. We, though, Frank, appear to disagree on the implications of this.

You said:

In response:

I don’t disagree with this conclusion. :slightly_smiling_face: Apparently, we disagree on how we got here.


(Phil van der Klift) #67

Where then is the role of ‘sin’ (ie, lawlessness: 1 Jn 3:4) and Satan (the one who steals, kills and destroys: Jn 10:10) in all of this? Is it possible that Satan has actually deceived us into thinking/perceiving that It is God who did/does this when in fact it is actually the handiwork of Satan? Could Isa 53:4 have prophesied this very misperception/misconclusion?

If God also kills and destroys, wouldn’t Jesus absolutistic statement in Jn 10:10 be in error or misleading?

Hint: God warned Adam and Eve in Gen 2:17 that in the day they ate of the fruit (ie, embraced lawlessness instead of lawfulness) they would surely die. Why didn’t they? What intervened and by what means?

(Phil van der Klift) #68

In further support of the viewpoints you are advocating Frank, I submit the following.

With specific regard to your quote above, if that allegation were true, the “simply because God said so” aspect would also fully vindicate Satan’s inferred allegation that God is arbitrary. And that would be a serious problem!

If I ask/require/order someone to do something simply because I say so, then there is no valid reality basis for what I have asked/required/ordered - it is arbitrary.

If there is more than one option and I select one option over another and ask/require/order that option to be carried out simply because I say so, I am again being arbitrary.

But if there is only one option, then what I ask is reality-based and all I am doing is making that reality known (ie, revelation).

Many Christians overlook the reality that because of Eve and Adam’s choice and actions in Gen 3, life was/is no longer the default state - death was instead because humanity was now out of harmony with what is needed to support life (as per Paul’s correct observation and analysis in Rom 5:14). So God doesn’t take life - humanity already lost that itself. That is the baseline that we need to keep in mind when viewing the events of the Old (and New) Testament.

(Lizwi Alpha Ntuli) #69

I liked the article in principle but I had reservations in the elaborate manner in which the author described the extent of the errors and the possible motives of those who made them, intentionally or otherwise. My fervent hope is that

  1. The author is not suggesting that this generation has a better understanding of God than past generations.
  2. The author is not implying God slept on duty far too much and allowed His word to be so distorted that it needs those who went to school to really figure it out.
  3. The author is not suggesting that all others are wrong in their interpretation and his is the right one.

Believe it or not, our interpretation of Scripture is influenced by our upbringing, the society we live in, our education or lack of it, etc.Feeling strongly about a particular position does not make it the right one.

(Phil van der Klift) #70

If you are interested, Ellen White wrote an article in the July 12 1898 Review and Herald titled “Treasure Hidden” in which she addresses these two issues. In summary, she notes that new light will be unfolding more and more as time goes on if people put in the effort to ‘mine’ the scriptures under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and with a hunger and thirst to experientially know (ie, in Spirit and in Truth) God’s nature and character.

Note also 2 Tim 2:15. Why emphasise the need to study to ‘rightly divide/handle’ the Scriptures? If there wasn’t a risk (or history) of wrongly dividing/handling such, then this caution would not have needed to have been stated.

As for needing ‘schooling’ to interpret and understand scripture, Paul would propose that it is the schooling of the Spirit that is needed (as per 1 Cor 2 for example) - and James points out that IQ has nothing to do with obtaining such schooling (James 1:4-9).

Jesus illustrated in the Sermon on the Mount that there are principles underpinning behavioural ‘rules and regulations’. The Old Testament covenant context necessitated use of rules and regulations as the start point for the people of those times - laws written on tablets of stone. But the New Testament progressed to principle-based covenant - ie laws written on the heart. It is the identification of the underpinning principles (and especially the convergence or divergence of such) that helps foster clearer and more accurate interpretation and understanding of the nature and Character of God and the realities of life under the Kingdom of God and by contrast the nature and character of Satan and his Kingdom of Darkness.

(Steve Mga) #71

See Genesis 15, God’s Covenant With Abraham.
Begin with verse 13. God tells Abraham his family will go to Egypt.
They will be slaves for 400 years.
At the END of the 400 years, God will JUDGE the king and the
verse 16. In the 4th generation they shall return here, for the
iniquity of the Amorites is “not yet complete.” Apparently God
will “judge” them then. And possibly the list of Kenites, Kenezzites,
Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaim, Amorites, Canaanites,
Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
Doesn’t mention the Philistines, but perhaps they have NOT arrived
from “Greece” and set up outposts in the time of Abraham.

(William J Baker) #72

Dear Matthew Quartey,
You have corrected my uneducated opinions, and I hereby recant the errors I stated or implied in my previous post; (it was the last comment on your “Why is the Bible and not God our First Core Belief”).
Having read your new article, “God is Inerrant…”, I realize that even though God is perfect His journalists, reporters, and Prophets are just human and make mistakes. And they may even do so in their official capacity as God’s spokesmen, as you demonstrated to me.
This new enlightenment ironically raises my esteem for Mrs. White, whom I now realize deserves to be judged less harshly than I have in the past. If the authors of our Holy Canon can be allowed a few mistakes, then Mrs. White deserves the same leniency.
It also makes me less concerned with the fact that God’s Church has so many different denominations with such great variation of practice and belief. And I am ready to be more open to some of the new ideas floating through Adventism.
Trying to be an honest seeker of truth, I freely admit that you have re-educated me on this important theological topic. On the other hand, I stand firm on my comments about Darwinism and the unscientific theory of Evolution.
I am now ready to state that my fundamental belief #1 is that God is righteous, infallible, fair, and loving. And I still believe that the Christian Bible is God’s Holy Word, even though He used flawed human agents to convey His message.
Thanks for the education,

(Phil van der Klift) #73

(If I may springboard from something you have said to illustrate an important aspect of bible interpretation…)

Now we need to identity what is meant by those terms - otherwise we simply (subconsciously) insert our own conceptualisations. And in doing so we overturn Isa 55:8,9 and instead portray God in our image.

For example, based on my reviews of scripture, I would propose that references to judging and judgment are merely metaphors attempting to describe aspects of how God operates (along with other metaphors). I do not believe they were intended to convey the idea that salvation is actually a cosmic courtroom process any more than John’s metaphorical description of heaven’s streets were meant to convey that they are literally made of gold.

The problem with the cosmic courtroom notion is that it has God as judge, jury and executioner - and in doing so it unwittingly supports Satan’s claim that God and His Kingdom are arbitrary in nature.

The Bible also has many references to salvation as healing - as connoted by the Greek word sozo which means both to save and to heal. ‘Judgment’ is an integral part of healing and is undertaken by health professionals. We know this process as diagnosis and prognosis - bringing to light the reality that exists (as per 1 Cor 4:5; Jn 3:19; Jn 12:31, etc). This is reality at work and is therefore non-arbitrary - a refutation of Satan’s accusation whereby the ‘evidence’ speaks for itself indicating why and how a person ends up at life (because they partook of the offer of participation in healing) or death (because they rejected the offer of participation in healing). It is the ‘evidence’ that speaks for itself that provides the vindication of the health professional against the accusation that they were in any way arbitrary in their diagnosis, prognosis and treatment as well as the reality of the healing process as the only viable one - thus settling the Great Controversy once and for all.

(David) #74

I’m not sure how Jn 10:10 can be considered an absolutistic statement. Christ was comparing Himself, the true Shepherd, with the false (Jn 10:1), who doesn’t come into the sheepfold by the door but comes in some other way. Christ said He is the door. He says all that came before Him are thieves and robbers. A good example of the thief or robber is the Roman Pontiff. He not only doesn’t come through the door, he even has the gall to say he is the Holy Father.

This is what I would call an absolututistic statement:

Matt. 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

It looks to me like God kills and destroys. That’s pretty absolutistic if you ask me.

(Steve Mga) #75

Egyptian Judging – It all began with God revealing Himself to the King.
The rods and snake eating up the other “snakes”.
God began with testing the “small” gods powers.
At the 3rd plague [Exod. 8:19] the magicians told the king, “This is the
finger of God”.
Each visit by God the discipline became more severe and began to affect
the crops, the people themselves, the animals. Then God’s final Judgment
on the Firstborns of people and animals.
God had made distinctions between Egypt land and Goshen that were able
to be contrasted by all the Egyptians.
The last one probably produced the most fear. Probably to save his crown,
the king HAD to agree to let them go, or the people might have rioted.
He made one last effort to capture them and bring them back. But ended up
losing the whole powerful Egyptian army in the sea.
As we discovered in Jericho, the nations were still recalling about the tragedy
of Egypt. But as we saw, it did not change the behaviors of the nations. They
did not inquire about God. Some became hostile toward Israel on their journey
in spite of knowing about the Egyptians.
In the story of Jericho we see the “conquest” was not one of capturing for the
“spoils” as everything was to either go to the sanctuary or be utterly destroyed.

(David) #76

Do you have a verse in the bible that refers to Satan’s claim that God and His kingdom are arbitrary?

BTW, I don’t think you answered @niteguy2.

(Phil van der Klift) #77

Thanks for your response.

In Jn 10:10 Jesus contrasts the nature of 2 entities: His Kingdom and that of the thief. Steal, kill and destroy are ascribed exclusively to the domain of the thief. Abundant life (Greek: Zoe) is ascribed exclusively to His Kingdom. If it is true that God kills and destroys, then Jesus would have needed to have said ‘the thief comes to steal and kill and destroy. And although my Kingdom involves God killing and destroying, we do that in the name of abundant life.’

Fair enough. Are you able to tell me why you prefer a God who kills and destroys? What would be your concern if He didn’t?

(Phil van der Klift) #78

Sure, Genesis 3:1-5.

Re not answering niteguy2, that’s ok - I wasn’t trying to. I was raising a point that related to the topic of the article - bible interpretation. I have edited my post to try to reduce risk of misunderstanding my reason for what I wrote.

(Phil van der Klift) #79

Yeah, no one is suggesting we scrap the scriptures. We are merely growing in our awareness of how to “rightly divide” scripture so that we reduce the risk of being ‘sloppy workmen’ in our use and application of it (as per 2 Tim 2:15).


If you do that, then teleology goes out of the window. The meaning is embedded in the structure of reality, and that’s something we recognize and label with arbitrary words that may be different for various cultures.

Perhaps that’s what you meant?