Is the Bible THE Word of God? June 2, 2005Posted by roopster in Bible, Christianity, faith, God, Religion, spirituality, Theology.
Since I mentioned a few thoughts on the Bible in my previous post, I thought I would expand it a little more.
There was a time when I viewed the Bible as THE Word of God. In the environment I came out of, the Bible may as well have been considered a part of the Godhead. Flowing from the logic of Jesus being the “Word made flesh”, these 66 books were held with the same esteem as God himself. It was definitely a solid case of book worship. We even had a substantial amount of “worship” songs singing about “The Word.”
Now, while I respect the Bible as the Holy Scriptures of the Christians and parts of it as being the Holy Scriptures of Jews and Muslims, I no longer ascribe to it as being THE Word of God. How can a book really be THE Word of God anyways? Doing a study of how the Bible itself was compiled is enough to make one wonder. Reading Genesis 1 and 2 alone raises more questions than it gives answers.
I believe the Old Testament is a collection of stories, traditions, and a certain culture’s view of God. Even within those stories, there are vast contradictions and different viewpoints. For example, Abraham’s view of God was radically different that Moses. Abraham’s God walked into his tent, bargained with him, and even physically wrestled with his grandson. However, Moses’ God was in a burning bush, spoke as thunder from a mountain and one couldn’t even look on his face without certain death.
There were many stories of this culture’s views of God that are definitely outside the scope of how I view God. For example, God supposedly backed their wars, conquests, genocide, etc. Today, we view Hitler, Saddam, and other mass murderers as “evil” men, but we are taught that the Children of Isreal wiping out entire nations of men, women, children, and even animals is an example of following the directions of God. This is no different than Bin Laden saying “God” directed him to perform the Sept. 11 attacks against the United States. Did God direct the Children of Israel to perform genocide? I doubt it. Did they believe he did and hence wrote those stories in their chronicles? Yes.
I also view the New Testament with great skepticism. I believe one can ascertain a good overall view of Jesus’ teachings from the gospels, however, I do not view every word as accurate. I believe the writings of Paul told a great story of a converted Pharisee’s journey from legalism to being a follower of Christ. They do give good guidelines to the church but should not be treated as THE authority on church doctrine. In fact, it is interesting to watch Paul mature as a Christian. In his early writings he referred to himself as “Paul, THE Apostle of Christ” and was speaking on behalf of Christ himself. Later he referred to himself as “Paul, the least of all the Apostles”, then as “Paul, the least of all the saints”. Close to the end of his life, he referred to himself as “Paul, chief of all sinners” and prayed to even know Christ.
I do believe one can be a Christian (a follower of Christ) and not ascribe to the Bible as THE Word of God or even, for that matter, call into question the “essential” doctrine of the diety of Jesus.