Friday, June 27, 2014

God did not write the Bible

The title of the post should be self-evident if taken in a literal sense, since, to quote the perfect grammar of Russell Brand, “the Holy Spirit ain’t got a pen.” That is, it seems quite obvious, even to fundamentalists, that God didn’t literally take up the task of writing the Bible. So, why did I take up the task of writing a post that asserts the obvious? Because, although many Christians wouldn’t claim that God literally wrote the Bible, they do claim that the Bible is the written Word of God. That is to say, many Christians believe that because of revelation and inspiration, scripture is “wholly and verbally God-given” and that God “caus[ed the] writers to use the very words that He chose.” (See the Chicago statement on Biblical Inerrancy.) Thus stated, such Christians adhere to the claim that God is the author of the Bible, though not in a direct sense.
My claim is that God cannot be said to have authored the Bible in this sense. What better way to demonstrate this, then to survey the Bible itself, and I believe the best way to do this, is to quote passages from the Psalms:

Hear me, Lord, my plea is just; listen to my cry. Hear my prayer-- it does not rise from deceitful lips.--Psalm 17:1
Arise, Lord! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked—Psalm 3: 7

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.—Psalm 63:1

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.—Psalm 51:1-2

I chose these Psalms—there are many more like them--for a specific purpose. You see, these Psalms are all prayers and pleas to God himself; they are the pleas of pious hearts and souls crying out for their creator. As such, it seems quite obvious that God did not author these verses in any sense, for then that would imply the absurdity that God is praying and pleading to Himself. So, we see that these verses cannot be preceded by “The Lord says.” Thus stated, we have direct evidence from the Bible that not all of its verses were “wholly and verbally God-given”.

All it takes is simple examples like these to collapse the foundation of inerrancy. For if we can find verses where God clearly did not author them, then we cannot say with any certainty that the rest of the Bible was authored by God. Now this is not to say that the Bible isn’t inspired by God in some sense, but it puts to bed the idea that the inspiration of God somehow controls the words written on the page.

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