Sunday, January 17, 2016

Round And Round With Divine Inspiration

TWH: Is the argument for biblical inspiration a circular one and, as such, undeserving of our attention from a scholarly perspective? Let's back up and make three observations that are important for understanding biblical inspiration.
1. Some texts in the New Testament mention that God spoke directly through a previously written text. For example, Acts 4:25 mentions that Psalm 2 is the product of two sources, the convergence of divine and human channels: "who, (1) by the Holy Spirit (2) through the mouth of our father David your servant, said: 'Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples devise futile things?'" 
2. There seems to be no distinction between the expressions "God said" and "Scripture said," much like there seems to be no distinction between "kingdom of heaven" and "kingdom of God." 
3. The authors of the New Testament acknowledge and uphold the divine origin of Scripture and, as a result, its authority over all of life (e.g., 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21). 
The texts that make up the Bible attest to its divine origin. The argument for inspiration and authority is circular in one sense. To say that a text is inspired because its author (or another author) treats it as inspired sends the logic full circle. Nevertheless, what the New Testament authors say about their texts and those texts on which the Christian faith is founded (i.e., the Old Testament) is a critical witness to the nature of these texts. Whether one believes what its authors say about those texts is a personal matter, but whether or not that internal evidence should be considered should not be up for discussion.

In all searches for truth and the nature of things, investigators begin with a set of presuppositions. Where individuals begin in their search for truth and the nature of things is probably a better place to begin a critique. For example, I would back way up when dealing with the idea of biblical inspiration. I would begin with the argument that if there is one true God (which I believe there is) and that God created humankind (which I believe he did), then that God has demonstrated evidence of wanting a relationship with his creation. Language is the bedrock of all relationships. As a result, we should expect that God would engage his creation with language.

The texts of the Old and New Testament are the fruition of this need for communication. There are many evidences for its truthfulness, the best of which being the fulfillment of prophecies made by God and written down by human individuals.

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