This question might seem a bit skeptical, but yesterday I was reading this book called Consuming Fire, which goes into detail about how the Old Testament was formed. It is a Catholic book published by Ignatius Press, a Catholic press, and it makes use of historical criticism.
In talking about the formation of the OT that we now have today, the author speaks of Yahwistic, Elohistic and Priestly traditions that acted on each other over time to revise the OT text. The author speaks of how such and such authors, while in Babylonian Captivity, wrote certain Scriptural passages (such as the Tower of Babel in Genesis) to reflect their stay in Babylon.
All this, and if taken to a certain point, implies for me that the writers of the OT were simply commenting on their life experiences. At least, that’s the implication I see. The writers are not recalling real events that happened, but are creating myths to describe some perceived cosmic or personal reality. So, when the writer wants to emphasize something as an objective, eternal mandate, he puts the mandate in the words of God: “And then God said…let there be light,” etc.–even if God never really said this and this is just a creation of the author. That’s the way it seems to me, at least.
So, I suppose my question is: how do we know that the Bible is truly God’s word for us? When the writers say that God declared this or that, did God really say this or that, or is what God says only a representation of what the writer wants God to say, to fit in with his perception of religious truth?
Textual criticism seems to destroy the essence of faith