15 Jan 2011

Word of God - Bible?

Submitted by Stephen Winters

What the word of God is....

What the word of God is not....

It is simplistic to say that any one book (i.e. the Bible, or any other religious book) is THE Word of God. If there is a God, and if he spoke to prophets and others, who wrote it, is it rational to believe that God quit speaking once some words were written down and bound into a book? It is more rational to believe that if God spoke over a long period of time to people in the past that he also continues to speak.

It doesn't matter whether we think the Bible is the Word of God or not. The bible is whatever it is no matter what we think about it. What we think or believe about the bible does not change what it is.

"The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword...." This says that when God message comes to us, it hits us where we are, down to the deepest reaches of our souls.

Bible, Only Way to God?

It has been said that the Bible is our (only) way to know and come to a personal relationship with God. When Christians are asked "What about those who have never had access to or heard the words of the Bible?" They answer that the heavens and the creation are a clear evidence of God, therefore the unbelievers will be judged because God had made himself plain to them through the creation. Therefore He will judge them based upon God revealing himself through creation and then rejecting God's proof.

This is a contradiction. If the Bible is the only way that we can come to God, then God can't judge those who have never had access to the Bible. Conversely, if God can judge people because they have rejected his proof displayed in creation, then that shows that people can come to God without reading the Bible.

In addition, if people can't come to God without the Bible, then all the people throughout the ages who didn't have access to, and never heard of, the Bible, those people are going to hell. In this case, God is an unjust tyrant who condemns people to hell with no way to escape it. But if God reveals himself through his creation and people will be judged by that, then that proves the Bible is not (the only) the way to God. It shows the God can bring people to himself through whatever means is appropriate to each person.

People who haven't heard

What happens to people who haven't heard the gospel or the bible.

If God has made provision to judge those who haven't heard by something else, then that shows that there are other ways to come to God besides the gospel.

The Word to Us

The word means a message for each of us individually and/or corporately. The Word is any messages, whether it be written, spoken, a thought, picture, landscape, location, etc. that gives me messages of help, hope, correction, insight, etc. God speaks to us through many vehicles. But the core of his message is  (always the same?)

Contains the Word of God

It is obvious that there are a number of places throughout the documents of the bible that say that the "word of the Lord" OR "the word of God" came to this individual or to that person. But what the text says it is clear that the word of God came to that person. However, just because a document or letter "contains" a message that is the word of God does NOT mean that the document itself is "the word of God". If that would be true, then ANY letter, document or book that contains any those word of God messages would have to be considered the Word of God. For example, if I wrote a letter contained any of those verses , then my whole letter would be a Word of God.

Implecations

The Bible either has errors or it doesn't have any errors. What are the implecations of either way?

If the Bible is indeed the Word of God, what would the implecations be? Would it be free from errors? If the Bible has errors, would that mean that it is not the Word of God?

If someone claims that the Bible is inerrant, does it mean that:

  1. They have exhaustively researched and studied it out themselves and they know for certain that it is error free.
  2. Are they relying upon the claims that they have heard others make "inerrant.... Word of God"

If someone believes that the bible is error free, then:

  1. The Bible is truly error free.
  2. The bible has errors, but they are relying upon the word of others about it being error free.
  3. If the Bible has errors and they don't know it, then some possibilities are:
    1. They haven't studied it out for themselves.
    2. They are blind to the errors
  4. If the Bible has errors and they do know it, then some possibilities are:
    1. They are lying to cover up the errors.

Making A Claim of Inerrancy is Huge!

Claiming the any book is totally perfect and completely free from error is a huge statement of great magnitude. To make a statement like this there would have to be exhaustive tests given the Bible to examine every aspect. Even then, could anyone be certain that every possible tests that could reveal any error had been given. What would the test criterea be?

  1. On what basis does anyone claim that the Bible is inerrant? Is it just a matter of one's belief with no proof or evidence to back it up?
  2. What criteria was used to prove that the Bible has no errors?
  3. What is considered an error?
  4. What test method was used?
  5. How did they seek to discover any errors in their test methods?
  6. Who did the testing?
  7. What are their biases and prejudices?
  8. What have they to gain or lose depending upon the outcome?
  9. What are their perceptions of what finding an error might mean?
  10. What is the credibility of the testing persons, methods, and equipment?
  11. How many other books or materials have they rated?
  12. What was the outcome of those ratings?
  13. Who certifies and monitors them and their equipment for reliability and accuracy?
  14. Show me where any of the authors of the documents of the Bible made any claims that their documents were free from error. Show me where the authors made any claim that they were writing the Word of God.

If someone knows that the Bible has errors and doesn't say anything about the errors,

I would assume that all books have some errors of some kind. If the information or instruction in the book works, then the errors don't make the information in the book any less valuable

Inerrant in Original?

I see many writings that say that the Bible was inerrant in it's original form. So, my thoughts are: No original exists today, so no one has seen the original. Consequently, no one can prove that the originals were without error.

But, even if the originals were written with divine inspiration (so that the were without error), then God could and would protect the subsequent copies and translations from error. However,

  • are the copies error-free?
  • Are all the translations error-free?
  • Why are there so many translations?

Even with all the modern typesetting and computerized equipment of today, many documents still have errors. Therefore we have proofreaders. To say that Paul never made mistakes with any of his writings is not reasonable.

If not the Bible, who will be our teacher?

God himself will be our teacher

These verses have been endlessly quoted by Christians to prove that non-christians will be judged.

God's Wrath Against Mankind

"Romans 1:18-20 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."

Well, if it is indeed true that non-Christians (who have never seen a Bible) can be held accountable because God has revealed himself through nature, then it is also true that people can find God through nature (without ever having seen or read the Bible). This clearly shows that the Bible is not the only way to find God.

Notes

1Pet 1:23 You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.

When you use the word "the", you usually mean that there is only one. When you say that the Bible is "THE" word of God, then that means there is only one. There is none other. When you say that the Bible is THE Word of God, this is what you are also saying:

  1. God only speaks by means of the Bible. God doesn't speak to us any other way.
  2. Everything that God has to say to us is contained in the Bible.
  3. God stopped speaking almost two thousand years ago. He hasn't spoken since.

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