If biblical Inerrancy does not cover history and science, what should we make of the resurrection?


#1

The Resurrection is the central event to all faces of Christianity (Catholicism, Protestantism, Orthodoxy). If it didn’t happen, then our faith is worthless and futile.

[quote=1 Corinthians 15:14 (NIV)]And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
[/quote]

As I understand, the Catholic church teaches that the bible is only inerrant on matters of faith and morality, but it is able to err on matters of History and Science. This makes sense to me because there are lots of little historical discrepancies in the bible [1]. Also I believe in miracles and the bible has a lot to say about that, which puts it fundamentally outside the domain of science. [2]

However this is also a little distressing for me because the resurrection is not only a matter of faith and morals: it is a historical event!

I come from a protestant background [3], so a large part of my faith in Christ comes from the following thought process:
[LIST=1]
*] The bible is the word of God, and the foundation of truth.
*] The new testament contains at least 1 historical account of the resurrection of Jesus.
*] From 1 and 2: The resurrection must have been a real event.
[/LIST]

However, if the bible is not inerrant regarding history and science, then this thought process falls apart. Just because there is a description of a historical event in the bible doesn’t mean it actually happened. But the resurrection is key! If there is no guarantee that this actually happened then my faith completely blind.

I suspect that this is where catholic sacred tradition comes in to save the day but seeing as I come from a protestant background I am extremely ignorant of how it all works.

If sacred tradtion is legit, then I guess the nicene creed is also considered Truth of God? If sacred tradition applies, does this mean that the Nicene creed has equal authority to the bible? Even if it’s not the word of God? I guess that if this is true, it solves my problem by unambiguously affirming the truth of the resurrection.

I understand that Jesus Christ is the final revelation of God to humanity: the way the truth and the life. I believe that he’s up there and that thanks to the Holy Spirit he hears my prayers just like God the father does. But I’m not in the privileged position that the apostles were because I can’t actually have a conversation with the bloke! :stuck_out_tongue:
I’m sitting here in Australia, 2014 years after the event holding a crusty old bible that seems to contradict itself and apparently can’t even be trusted to describe the resurrection with 100% accuracy or infallibility. I feel that it is impossible to read the bible correctly unless there is some God Given Guarantee that my interpretation will be the objective truth, otherwise I could pull anything out of it and read anything into it.

Is sacred tradition the answer to my dilemma? [4]

Notes:
[1] For example, between the gospel accounts there are many small discrepancies, and I’m sure there are many other minor inaccuracies within both testaments.

[2] Regarding the creation versus evolution stuff: My understanding is that by reading Genesis in context it doesn’t matter whether you accept evolution or creationism because that is not the purpose of the book, which is to describe the relationship between God, humanity, and the rest of creation. The creation story could just be a mythical backdrop which allows the story to be told in terms that are not overly abstract, so that even a child or an Israelite from 3000 years ago could both understand it.

[3] Brief context: I was baptised a Catholic when I was 10, but have only really been a proper Christian for the past 2 years. I hang around in protestant circles and attend protestant churches, but lately I’ve been questioning the idea of sola scriptura and finding that it just doesn’t stack up. I suspect that I’m actually a Catholic and would like to learn more about this idea of sacred tradition. Help a brother out :slight_smile:

[4] I have great respect for the protestant focus on historical biblical criticism/Calvinist exegesis, and the manuscript evidence for the new testament is astonishing. However, despite how encouraging all of that is, it is not enough for me to accept a doctrine as objective truth which proceeds from God. We have to be careful of false teachers which present doctrines that tickle the ears, and I’m very aware that it is possible to read the bible in the wrong way. I no longer believe in a relativistic “everyone is right” interpretation of the bible. I believe that there is only one reading, and that only God knows what it is. But I think that he wants me to know, and if god does indeed speak through sacred tradition, consider my prayers answered!


#2

No, that’s not what the Church teaches, although it is a very common misconception. If you want to know what the Church teaches, you’ll need to read the relevant documents, such as Providentissimus Deus. Here’s a relevant excerpt:

For the system of those who, in order to rid themselves of … difficulties, do not hesitate to concede that divine inspiration regards the things of faith and morals, and nothing beyond, because (as they wrongly think) in a question of the truth or falsehood of a passage, we should consider not so much what God has said as the reason and purpose which He had in mind in saying it-this system cannot be tolerated. For all the books which the Church receives as sacred and canonical, are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Ghost; and so far is it from being possible that any error can co-exist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true. This is the ancient and unchanging faith of the Church, solemnly defined in the Councils of Florence and of Trent, and finally confirmed and more expressly formulated by the Council of the Vatican.

Note that he points out this is not something he made up, it was taught (infallibly, by our belief) at three ecumenical Councils.


#3

As regards Sacred Tradition, the Vatican II document Dei Verbum teaches that “both sacred tradition and sacred scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence.” Another document you ought to familiarize yourself with.

Incidentally, some Modernists claim that Dei Verbum teaches the error condemned above, but this is untrue as can be shown from the footnotes. The passage in question is a bit ambiguous, but in cases of ambiguity we defer to what the Church has always taught.


#4

You have not heard what the Church actually says, unfortunately. Vatican II’s “Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation” teaches that "Holy mother Church has firmly and with absolute constancy maintained and continues to maintain, that the four Gospels, whose historicity she unhesitatingly affirms, faithfully hand on what Jesus, the Son of God, while he lived among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation, until the day he was taken up (Acts 1:1-2). (in section 19)
If you would like, you could easily google to this Church statement, and look there for yourself.
There are differences in the Gospels. However, these involve other issues. The Gospel writer will sometimes place an incident in another context, for example, to draw new meaning from it unique in his Gospel, but this does not mean the incident didn’t happen. It simply means he is bringing out a new side of the truth of it.
And too for example there are some differences in the accounts of the multiplication of bread. I think though this happened on more than one occasion, and so of course there are differences.


#5

Ok, reading that excerpt it sounds like Catholics are expected to take the bible literally (6 day creation etc etc etc), but this doesn’t match up with what I’ve been reading about Catholic doctrines. eg Aren’t the psalms poetry and can’t be taken literally?

Is there a distinction between inaccuracy and error? That is to say, there are inaccuracies in the bible, but no actual errors.

Otherwise I don’t understand why the Catholic church doesn’t just straight up come out in support of 6 day creation.

Examples of statements in the Bible that often cause difficulty with regard to inerrancy.
Gn 7:17 flood–40 days; Gn 7:24 flood–150 days
Mk 2:26 - Abiathar is said to be high priest; 1 Sm 21:2 - Ahimelech is high priest
Mt 23:35 - Zechariah, son of Barachiah; 2 Chr 24:20-22 - son of Jehoida
Fig tree withers immediately Mt 21:18-22; withers next day Mk 11:12-14, 20-25.
Inscriptions on the Cross differ - Mt 27:37; Mk 15:26; Lk 23:38; Jn 19:19
Death of Judas and origin of Field of Blood differ - Mt 27:5-8; AA 1:18-19
Going from or coming to Jericho? - Mt 20:29-34; Mk 10:46-53; Lk 18:35-43
Jn 7:38 - no such exact quote in the OT
The universe wrapped in water held back by a solid dome called the firmament
Joshua 10:13 - the sun stood still . . . . the sun moves, not the earth???

Sure, I believe that the gospels are historical accounts. But I can also see historical errors. They all point to Jesus resurrecting, but the details are not 100% solid? The writers were humans with limited human perspectives. Even if the holy spirit guided them all. So all the words in the gospels are important and God put them there for a reason. But total historical accuracy? surely not.

If this is really what catholics believe, that the bible is 100% exhaustive and accurate for correct doctrine, and historical/scientific facts, then I see no fundamental difference between the catholic church and sola scriptura protestants! :confused: Why would you need sacred tradition?

(so confused. My head is going in circles. Probably time to take a walk :stuck_out_tongue: solvitur ambulando)


#6

The Catholic position is that everything the human author intended to assert as true is protected from error. That is why understanding the genre and purpose of the various documents that make up the Bible is important.

As the most obvious example, Jesus Himself, who could not lie, taught frequently in parables. People understood that when He said “There was a certain man…,” He was telling a story, not actually asserting that the man really existed. He taught important truths about God in that way, even though the statements He made about characters and events were not literally true.

If God as a man saw nothing wrong with teaching in that way, there is no need to hold the written Word of God to a standard of literal fact even though He is its ultimate Author.

Thus, the psalms are songs. Some of them may refer to specific events, but we expect them to convey emotional truth, not a coherent narrative of actual events.

The Song of Solomon is love poetry. When we read it nowadays, we don’t care if there was a specific historical couple whose erotic exchanges are recorded; rather, we read it as an image of either human conjugal love in general or the ardor that exists between God and His people.

Some believe that the book of Jonah is a comic novel, not an historical account at all. If that’s so, we were never meant to take the grumpy prophet, the great fish, or the unlikely conversion of the Assyrian capital as actual things – yet the book still conveys the important realization that God is not only the God of Israel but of everyone, and seeks salvation rather than destruction even for Israel’s enemies.

In the same way, if the creation narratives are myths (meaning a certain type of story, not useless falsehoods), we can believe that what they assert about God, humanity, and sin is true without being compelled to defend the literal truth of every detail.

Even the Gospels, though they intend to record true facts of Jesus’ life and teachings, are not modern-style biographies. We know that John’s Gospel has a structure of seven miraculous signs interspersed with seven teaching discourses. In following that structure, like someone today writing a movie “based on true events” but constrained by dramatic structure and an acceptable range of length, John likely compressed events and moved them around to make his points. That is not the same thing as lying or fabricating the original events themselves, though.

The Resurrection, as Paul asserts, is THE central truth of the Christian faith. It is an historical event, yes, but also a theological truth. Even if we didn’t have the Gospels – as Paul himself did not; remember, he wrote before any of them was put to paper – the statement you quote from Paul would be a clear Scriptural assertion that the Resurrection really, truly happened. That we have later narrative accounts of the event (which themselves differ slightly in detail, meaning they can’t all be 100% accurate historical accounts) is a nice bonus, not something that should be either the sole foundation of, or a threat to, anyone’s faith.

Usagi


#7

Thanks for this, this is exactly what I was looking for. And adds more weight against sola scriptura in my mind.
So… what should be the foundation of faith? The gospels? The new testament? The entire bible? The traditions of the catholic church alone? The personal testimony of my Christian mates? A combination of all these things?
What is the place of the nicene and other creeds/councils? Does the catholic church accept them as being equal in authority to the bible as well as complementary to the bible?


#8

Caution: Personal opinion here, not Church dogma

Looking at the creation narrative, nowhere is it recorded that God told so-and-so exactly how the world was created (that I recall, at least). I find it very plausible that God showed a vision to one of the writers who compiled Genesis, showing what happened. The visions compressed billions of years of cosmic history into one extended vision, or multiple visions over several days. Think of it as the writer’s visions of creation like our dvd/blu-ray players with fast forward on as fast as it will go - watching a two hour movie in 10 minutes. Well, maybe this was millions of years of creation, accelerated and revealed over six nights, and that’s how it was recorded; as six nights (especially if they couldn’t grasp epochs, eras, periods, etc.

But, no matter exactly the details around Genesis and how long it actually took, it really doesn’t change the truth that God created us, and the world for us.

(if this doesn’t make perfect sense, I’m up way past bedtime)


#9

As we read in 1 Timothy 3:15, the Church is the Foundation of Faith. Always has been. Even without the Scriptures (meaning the NT,) the Church is the foundation of Faith (as it was in Apostolic times) Therefore the Church, which includes both Sacred Scripture and Tradition, is the foundation of Faith.

Protestantism beginning with Luther tried to wrest Sacred Scripture away from the Church, in a new system of needing ONLY Sacred Scripture. But this idea, even to Luther’s dismay was a horrible disaster. Yet its appeal continues to this day with those who are ignorant of history and the Church.


#10

When one says what should be the foundation of faith - one must also ask…“Faith in what???”
For the Christian, the foundation of our faith is Christ - - Christ Crucified and Resurrected - - Christ is the foundation upon which we build.
What you are seeking are “proofs” for that faith…and sadly “proofs” and faith don’t really mix. If something can be proved it becomes knowledge and faith is not needed.

That said - to answer your question - faith is founded on a combination of things.
[LIST]
*]Scripture certainly, but not Scripture alone for multiple books claim to be the word of God, so something else is needed.
*]The Church and her Traditions? Certainly for her unbroken history and line of successors from the Christ and the Apostles down to us gives us great confidence and guidance. She affirms the truth of the Bible and, under the guidance of the holy Spirit, assembled, protected, copied, distributed and taught from “the Bible” for a thousand years before the idea of “Sola Scriptura” was ever born.
*]Personal testimonies are also useful but less so unless they can be adequately backed up and reconciled with the faith as a whole…this is why “private interpretation” is seen as dangerous and un-biblical.
[/LIST]
Now - you ask about creeds and are whether they should be regarded as the word of God. I ask, why should they not be???
Scripture gives us the model of the council to resolve matters of doctrine, discipline, belief and practice. We see it acted out in Acts 15. This is in accord with the instructions Christ gave to the Apostles in Mt 18:15-18 about how to deal with error (sin) within the community.

The creeds are an expression of the Holy Spirit through the Church in council (the biblical model). Why should we doubt their correctness?

Just some thoughts

Peace
James


#11

I’d LOVE to know where the Old & New Testament errs in history or science, by the way. The only reason the western world leads in science is the cogency of Holy Writ in revealing a cogent Creator that Judeo-Christianity back-engineered into great science. Why do we take “eternal” for granted? This is newly ratified by physics, time and space being relative; matter and energy not able to be destroyed.

Got it? Agree? There’s so much goooood science packed in the Bible that it boggles the mind, and one hallmark of the elect is God’s revealed “high concept, low tech” guidance. Man is created out of the stuff of the Earth. Check. Woman is cloned from and “refined” from Adam’s tissue after he is put into a deep sleep. Anesthesia and cloning? Righto.

Science is subverted by atheism, and Immanuel Velikovsky, in trying to correlate all ancient writings, came up with a hot Venus and was spot on, in spite of other misfires. I’m amazed anybody can dismiss Scripture as soft on science and history. Sure you’re not a product of our atheist culture? Help me out. I’m mystified by this stance.


#12

A couple of years ago the British BBC dedicated the 666th (!) issue of its monthly program on astronomical matters, The Sky at Night, to the topic We Just Don’t Know ! A panel of scientists there reviewed a number of BASIC present-day (relativistic, quantumphysical, cosmological) assumptions on the Universe, argumenting they are either totally contradictory, nonsensical, or simply unexplainable. Their unanimous conclusion: our present Worldview or Paradigm is in dire need of revision, from the bottom up !!!

So, why bother about “scientific” arguments vs Bible and Belief …?


#13

Incorrect, and this notion is refuted directly by the Bible itself:

If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? - John 3:12

This idea was also attacked by Pope Pius X:

[quote=PASCENDI DOMINICI GREGIS]:In the [Bible] there are many passages referring to science or history where manifest errors are to be found…]

Such, Venerable Brethren, is a summary description of the apologetic method of the Modernists…] [These] partisans of error are to be sought not only among the Church’s open enemies; they lie hid, a thing to be deeply deplored and feared, in her very bosom and heart, and are the more mischievous, the less conspicuously they appear. We allude, Venerable Brethren, to many who belong to the Catholic laity, nay, and this is far more lamentable, to the ranks of the priesthood itself…]
[/quote]

This makes sense to me because there are lots of little historical discrepancies in the bible [1].

Incorrect. We can tackle them one at a time, if you like. What’s the best you’ve got? :slight_smile:

Also I believe in miracles and the bible has a lot to say about that, which puts it fundamentally outside the domain of science.[2]

Incorrect. The Bible records miracles, but it also makes claims about nature that can be scientifically tested; e.g. Amos 9:6 claims that the waters of the sea rain upon the land.

I’m sitting here in Australia, 2014 years after the event holding a crusty old bible that seems to contradict itself and apparently can’t even be trusted to describe the resurrection with 100% accuracy or infallibility.

I’ve got good news for you: the Bible is 100% true from start to finish!

[2] Regarding the creation versus evolution stuff: My understanding is that by reading Genesis in context it doesn’t matter whether you accept evolution or creationism because that is not the purpose of the book, which is to describe the relationship between God, humanity, and the rest of creation. The creation story could just be a mythical backdrop which allows the story to be told in terms that are not overly abstract, so that even a child or an Israelite from 3000 years ago could both understand it.

Incorrect, and that is really close to heresy (and might actually be heresy!). In the same encyclical by Pope Pius X which I quote earlier, Pope Pius X says that modernist heretics are the one who make the following argument:

In the Sacred Books there are many passages referring to science or history where manifest errors are to be found. But the subject of these books is not science or history but religion and morals. In them history and science serve only as a species of covering to enable the religious and moral experiences wrapped up in them to penetrate more readily among the masses. The masses understood science and history as they are expressed in these books, and it is clear that had science and history been expressed in a more perfect form this would have proved rather a hindrance than a help.

- heretics

Catholics are permitted to interpret Genesis symbolically. What most people are ignorant of is the fact that this does not exclude a historical interpretation. The text tells a true story, yet the events described are allegorical of other things. For example, the 6 days of work followed by a day of rest is symbolic of man’s work week followed by the Lord’s Day where we are required to rest from work.

The Catholic Church, in the 1909 Pontifical Biblical Commission, has explicitly permitted that:

n that designation and distinction of six days, with which the account of the first chapter of Genesis deals, the word (day) can be assumed either in its proper sense as a natural day, or in the improper sense of a certain space of time; and whether with regard to such a question there can be free disagreement among exegetes

This allows Catholics to disagree on what the word “day” meant. It does NOT allow Catholics to believe that the meaning intended by the author was incorrect. In other words, if the author meant a literal day, than that’s what really happened. If the author meant eons, that’s what really happened. Catholics disagreeing on thus subject cannot change the truth of what really happened. Either the word “day” meant a revolution of the earth over approximately a 24 hour period, or it didn’t. It either happened that way, or it didn’t.

In my opinion, this argument was settled long ago, and the day is meant to be taken literally. This is supported by tons of evidences. I won’t go through them all here, but note that the days are marked by mornings and evenings. Also note that the Old Testament literally records God Himself literally writing in a tablet (I think it was) for Moses that “in 6 days I created the Heavens and the Earth” and it does not make sense that God would have speaking figuratively there. Also, I’m not aware of any respected Hebrew scholars who seriously entertain the notion that the word “day” wasn’t meant to be taken literally.

In my opinion (and it’s pretty blunt), you either accept a literally week-long creation, or you deny biblical infallibility and attribute an officious lie to God Himself.


#14

Otherwise I don’t understand why the Catholic church doesn’t just straight up come out in support of 6 day creation.

I’m not completely sure. A guess of mine is that God is using this 150 year old debacle as a test of faith. Do we maintain our belief in the Bible,* the only eye-witness account of creation*, or do we practically abandon it in favor of what fallible human beings, who weren’t even there, have to say about it?

Examples of statements in the Bible that often cause difficulty with regard to inerrancy.
Gn 7:17 flood–40 days; Gn 7:24 flood–150 days
Mk 2:26 - Abiathar is said to be high priest; 1 Sm 21:2 - Ahimelech is high priest
Mt 23:35 - Zechariah, son of Barachiah; 2 Chr 24:20-22 - son of Jehoida
Fig tree withers immediately Mt 21:18-22; withers next day Mk 11:12-14, 20-25.
Inscriptions on the Cross differ - Mt 27:37; Mk 15:26; Lk 23:38; Jn 19:19
Death of Judas and origin of Field of Blood differ - Mt 27:5-8; AA 1:18-19
Going from or coming to Jericho? - Mt 20:29-34; Mk 10:46-53; Lk 18:35-43
Jn 7:38 - no such exact quote in the OT
The universe wrapped in water held back by a solid dome called the firmament
Joshua 10:13 - the sun stood still . . . . the sun moves, not the earth???

One at a time please! :eek:

If this is really what catholics believe, that the bible is 100% exhaustive and accurate for correct doctrine, and historical/scientific facts, then I see no fundamental difference between the catholic church and sola scriptura protestants! :confused: Why would you need sacred tradition?

Because the Bible itself says, in 2 Thessalonians 2:15:

[S]tand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.

:stuck_out_tongue:


#15

Um, friend, that’s what faith is: a trusting in what is not known.

This is not a bad thing, and far from unknown in science: a chemist or physicist might be able to explain how a car works, but it is faith which leads him/her to turn the key in the hope that the thing will start in the morning (there are too many variables for him/her to be able truly to know that it will start that day).

If sacred tradtion is legit, then I guess the nicene creed is also considered Truth of God? If sacred tradition applies, does this mean that the Nicene creed has equal authority to the bible? Even if it’s not the word of God? I guess that if this is true, it solves my problem by unambiguously affirming the truth of the resurrection.

Well, sort of, except that you are really just opting for an argumentum ab auctoritate there: “This authority says X; therefore, X must be true.” That argument is only logical if the authority is infallible. Further, the conciliar nature of the Early Church actually makes it argumentum ad populum: “Everyone says X; therefore, X must be true”. The authority of the council was that it presented the consensus of the Early Church. The same logical problem applies.

(Anglicans accept Tradition too: in theory, we “balance” it with Scripture and Reason, although the individual balance varies a great deal.)

I’m sitting here in Australia, 2014 years after the event holding a crusty old bible that seems to contradict itself and apparently can’t even be trusted to describe the resurrection with 100% accuracy or infallibility.

Actually, from a historical-textual perspective, those discrepancies are good, because they demonstrate that the text was not redacted into perfect homogeneity. This is a significant issue with historical and especially with religious texts, and we have plenty of evidence of other works having been manipulated to say what a later person wanted them to say.

Thus, what we have is a very reliable record of what the Early Church believed to have happened, a sincere record, and that, from a historical perspective, is the very best for which one can hope.


#16

That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. You’re basically saying that an internally-inconsistent and self-contradictory text is more reliable than a text that doesn’t contradict itself. If you really believe that, then the next time you have yourself a witness in court, make sure he contradicts himself in his account of events. Then when the judge catches him, just explain your logic. Tell the judge that the lack of consistency within his report is an indicator of his reliability.

You’ll be laughed out of court.

Jesus said he is the truth. The truth is not compatible with non-truth. Jesus also rhetorically asked that, if one does not believe Moses, how is one going to believe him (Jesus)?

You either accept that the Bible is 100% true, or you deny that Jesus is the truth. At which point, you may as well abandon every single record of miracles in the Bible.


#17

The Bible is full of truths, and sometimes facts.

Some who come from a religious background where the truths of the Bible were equated with literal facts may struggle with this above statement, but it is a simple way of understanding what the Catholic Church teaches regarding Sacred Scripture.

Take for instance the way history is taught in the United States of America. It is still common for school children to learn about America’s struggle for independence through stories like “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere…

Some of us know this poem by heart. Many a school report has been written about this event based on the way this story has been told.

And while it’s a true story, the facts are inaccurate. History did not unfold exactly the way this story taught it to us. But that is not the point of Longfellow’s poem.

Inaccuracies in the poem were purposefully constructed by Longfellow. They were a narrative device meant to inspire a sense of urgency and need for action that Longfellow felt was necessary in his day. Many like Longfellow felt that in their first 100 years American cultural and moral values were giving way to darker less courageous ones. Thus Longfellow sought to preserve these by using poetic license to emphasize through a review of freedom’s history how without such values and courageous action Americans would cannot expect to remain free.

The essential story and the moral details are American* truths*, very important to what happened historically as well as important to take to heart even today. But the historical details are not meant to be read literally. If you do that, then you miss the point of Longfellow’s reason for reminding us of this important, factual event.

It is the same with the stories of the Bible. Historically speaking they tell us the truth as seen through the eyes of faith. The writers of these narratives believed that events unfolded as they did because our God had a hand in bringing us salvation by means of them. But the writers, like Longfellow, often employed narrative devices so that the sacred religious truths that came to be understood from history would carry through.

To illustrate: it was not the point of the writer of Genesis 1 to tell people that God literally created the universe in six days. While that could have easily happened, that is not the point. The lesson from history is that God has a purpose for mankind, and human beings have the responsibility of obeying God’s laws for them. God’s commands are not arbitrary additions to the human experience, they are part of what it means to be human (thus the story ends with a reminder to observe the Sabbath in “imitation” of God). The need for following God’s created order for us is “built in” to our created nature and that of the universe.

Historically speaking the creation of the universe really happened, right? But the way it is interpreted religiously in the Bible is not the same as a dry, encyclopedia entry discussing the formation of elements that make up the physical plane of existence as we know it. What practical religious truth would be gained by telling you that all the amino acids that make up life are “left-handed”? What does that detail even mean?

The resurrection is historically true as well. But because each Gospel account is telling the story to a different audience employing narrative devices especially suited to their needs, the details sometimes differ. It’s still all true, it’s just not meant to be read like a news report. It’s more than just news in a magazine or newspaper, it’s life-saving news meant to lead a person to eternal life.

Mundane news doesn’t do that. It can offer you literal facts but not life-saving truths.

Some parts of the Bible are meant to be literal, but others are not. Jesus literally died and then rose from the dead, but whether there was a literal earthquake at the time of this event is not as important as whether or not our world is shaken by what this means for us.

The science of the Bible is limited, the language of the Bible is human, but the truths are divine. A literal report of divine truths is not always possible nor are there always words that could literally describe the transcendence these possess.


#18

That is possibly because you do not get out much, but more likely because, judging by the rest of what you have written, you have misunderstood it, and hastily conflated it with something else.

You’re basically saying that an internally-inconsistent and self-contradictory text is more reliable than a text that doesn’t contradict itself.

When the text is a two-thousand-year-old anthology, and the accuracy is, as already stated, its representation of “what the Early Church believed to have happened”, and the inconsistencies fall within certain proportional limits, yes. As noted, these inconsistencies demonstrate the lack of redaction, which is a crucial concern in historical texts.

If you really believe that, then the next time you have yourself a witness in court, make sure he contradicts himself in his account of events. Then when the judge catches him, just explain your logic. Tell the judge that the lack of consistency within his report is an indicator of his reliability.

Alternatively, I could avoid doing so, since there is no logical relationship between the two situations: the witness is a single, current source; the Bible is not; the question in court is the ontological accuracy of the witness’ claims; the statement made here concerns the ideological representativity of the text.

Jesus said he is the truth.

Indeed, he said that he is the truth, not that the stories about him were the truth.

You either accept that the Bible is 100% true, or you deny that Jesus is the truth.

Alternatively, you could avoid the logical fallacy of fabricating a causal relationship between the reality of Jesus and the accuracy of others’ reports of him, and instead recognise that, while apparently sincere, the Bible is not necessarily factually correct in all instances, and this does not have a determinant effect upon Jesus himself.


#19

Nah it’s probably the former :stuck_out_tongue:


#20

:stuck_out_tongue:


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