jump to navigation

Is the Bible THE Word of God? June 2, 2005

Posted by roopster in Bible, Christianity, faith, God, Religion, spirituality, Theology.
trackback

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.

Advertisements

Comments»

1. Jacob - April 24, 2005

I also have a hard time believing that God ordered genocides, but I like the idea of God interacting very differently with different people. It makes me think that maybe it’s ok that my experiences (or lack thereof) with God don’t mean I’m a bad person, and my friends who speak in tongues and have visions and see miracles aren’t neccessarily wackos.

2. Roopster - April 25, 2005

Jacob,

Yes. Abraham had a very different view or experience with God than Moses did. I came out of a charismatic environment but I cannot say that anything I’ve experiences was especially supernatural and not beyond the realm of conditioning. It’s interesting but I believe we experience God based on our environment. The Catholics experience God in their traditions. The Charismatics experience God by singing repetitive songs over and over again. The Pentecostals experience God by twirling in circles to Southern Gospel music. Some experience God with old hymns. If you’re not used to someone else’s environment, they could be having a great ole time and you’d sit there thinking ‘am I missing something here?’

For Christians who believe their faith is exclusive, the question comes to to what about those of other religions who also have their experiences with God?

For me, my relationship with God has become very personal and I think that’s the way it should be. I no longer subscribe to any creeds or dogma and I believe I’m more in touch with my creator than I’ve ever been.

Paul

3. Monk-in-Training - April 25, 2005

I have been interested in this subject and would like to offer a couple of comments from MY viewpoint flawed though it may be.

1. The Bible is a book, just that. Not Magic, not an Idol, not a Totem. The version produced by men in a country called England in the year 1611 is no more perfect or important than the recent proclamation of Matthew in the Sena language of tribal people in Mozambique.

2. JESUS is the Word of God, the Revelation of God to us, the book (bible) is simply a record of how God has acted in human lives and how He calls us to understand His love as exemplified by His Son, Jesus. It was written and preserved by flawed men struggling to transmit what they believed was God’s Spirit speaking to us. My trust and faith is in Jesus, not in this book that transmits His record to me.

Many people who insist that the record is the Word of God, instead of simply a book are confronted by some of the obvious “issues” of less than exact science or numerical lists. Then they say that it is only the original manuscripts that were inerrant — and since these have been lost, all the later copies contain mistakes. An easy argument to make since there isn’t any possibility of rebuttal.

Modern textual criticism has provided us with the knowledge that, though minor differences are in the record, the main witness to the Word of God, Jesus is clear enough to speak to our hearts and save our souls

4. Roopster - April 25, 2005

MIT,

Good points. Thanks for sharing them.

Paul

5. Mona - April 25, 2005

hello i’m a new comer to this blog but liked ur controversy
ok i think The Book of God is that book where u can find ur relief u can b convinced with its spiritual power that will push u forward
thank

6. Epiphanist - June 2, 2007

Your knowledge of the Word is impressive and this post is no exception. Knowledge of the Spirit can be described in a book with arguable degrees of subjectivity, and the Spirit can be accessible through that knowledge, but the Spirit is never trapped in a book.

7. rarosalion - June 20, 2007

“This is no different than Bin Laden saying “God” directed him to perform the Sept”

He does!

Allah = God, and, since Islam, Judaism and Christianity all believe in the Abrahamic God, it’s the SAME God!

8. cragar - June 21, 2007

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

I was going to comment on this some time ago but went out of town for both work and pleasure and just read it again.

I read both you and sailing to byantium and I want to find a way to get faith, even with the Bibles problems. But I just can’t do it. I suppose we can blame the persons who put together the canons, but if the Bible was the word of God, wouldn’t He make sure the correct books were put in and it would stand the test of time?

I just feel that the gospels of the NT are stories written decades after the fact, and then one author would use another author’s writings to make his and so on and so on.

Of course, if Monk In Training is right, then the Bible is just a written account for what happened. Once again, I would like this to be true, but I just think that Jesus was a good man. Not the son of God, or God himself. I think Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, and the rest all wrote to further their agenda. And until a faith comes around that doesn’t use the Bible as it’s backbone I think I will always have a hard time believing.

9. ysis - August 1, 2007

The Bible is a collection of myths, allegories, and stories which convey spiritual principles and divine truths. It also contains different points of view of how humankind has perceived of God throughout history.

When I think of “The Word of God”, I think of Spirit and Truth besause God is Spirit and Truth. So ANY book that conveys Truth to the Spirit of Humankind is A “word of God.”

We can’t confine God to 66 books. Everything in the Bible is not Truth, but there is Truth, Wisdom and Spirit in the Bible. So, again, the Bible has no monopoly on what is called the “word of God.”

10. carlton figg - November 1, 2007

The Old Testament is so heavily flawed that it is extremely difficult to explain it to Christians, leave alone non-Christians. At one stage, it says in the Book of Genesis that the gods came down and took for themselves the daughters of humans. “Gods” ? Plural ? We’re a one-god community, so how do we explain this reference to “gods” (more than one) in our sacred texts ? How do we explain to non-believers that, according to God (who inspired the Bible, remember ?), the world is just over 6000 years old ? Fossils dating back a few million years are now very strongly contradicting the Bible ‘s estimate of the age of the world. Like I said in an earlier outing, the Old Testament (as the church would like to call it) is, in most parts, a jumble of Jewish mythology. Human and social values also come into question, and remain unexplained in the Bible. For example — after Adam and Eve, how did mankind continue with the task of populating the world ? Adam and Eve were the first humans — which means that their children committed incest with each other in order to keep the human race from becoming extinct. Come to think of it, all that “begetting” finally got us somewhere ! But seriously, how in blazes can we explain all this to non-Christians ? Tell them, as the Church tells us, to shut off their minds and just have faith ? Better still, let’s just burn them at the stake. Bloody heretics !! Frankly, there’s no way I can explain even two-thirds of the Bible to anybody with an inquisitive mind !! The loopholes are far too many.

11. Keith Johnson, M.S. Education - December 6, 2007

The Bible is an important historical document, and indeed has much wisdom. But through the centuries it has suffered through many translations that have had political/religious agendas behind them that we are unaware of. So, the Bible must be read with a degree of detachment and caution. I do not believe, for example, that God would order Moses to kill off a whole tribe! So, passages like these must be seen as nothing more than history recorded in “such a way”. We must use our God-given wisdom to navigate the Bible correctly.

12. Stephanie - June 20, 2008

It’s good to see someone else point out these things. I know I am not alone, but it still feels good knowing there are others.

I was raised in a Christian (Disciples of Christ) Church, but since my teen years, I have questioned many things, especially the Bible. I found so many inconsistent accounts and read many things that didn’t make sense to me. I went to different churches trying to find answers, although I didn’t realize at the time that was what I was doing. I have never stopped seeking “the truth”. I now consider myself to be a Gnostic Christian… a seeker of truth who also believes that Jesus is the Son of God. The Bible was written by humans, and humans are fallible. God does not behave like a human… He is all knowing and logical, and I know He is a loving and caring God.

I think it is very sad when I run across someone who is rigid in their beliefs. No matter what evidence you point out when you are pushed into a corner (with them saying you are wrong and will be going to hell), they can’t hear you. They insist the bible is the Word of God. I try not to push my beliefs on anyone, but I will defend my beliefs when challenged. I pray for them, and not for them to think like me, but to find their own truths… to be open minded.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: