Why is the biblical canon closed?


#1

I have read the entire bible, including the “rejected books” and gnostic gospels, and understand why some of these books were rejected. However something I ponder at times is why the writings of some people we view as so important in the shaping of Catholicism that why do we not view this as “inspired” by God as well? I read Justin Martyrs first apology, and the writings of Thomas Aquinas and Francis of Assisi recently, and I couldn’t help but wonder to myself why these writings which were so important to the foundation of our beliefs today that is it possible they are in fact inspired writings? Maybe I sound like a heretic but I am not, this just kind of came through my mind, like what if Revelation isn’t the end of God’s word to us? What if he sent many of these Saints such as Francis of Assisi and Thomas Aquinas to deliver us more inspired messages? What if the Canon of the bible should in fact be open? I ask this because I feel as though to many people think the Bible is everything, when it is the word of God, but what if say the Summa Theologica is an inspired writing from God? I hope all can respect this question, because I know it may sound ridiculous, but it is something I have wondered and maybe someone with more knowledge on theology can explain to me why Revelation is the end of the “Inspired” books??


#2

This is one major reason many non-religious people avoid the bible, they feel the church has ‘cherry-picked’ what it wants and anything that would not benefit them or provide a stable society, should not be included, in short, if more people were exposed to these, it may lead them to be ‘unproductive member’ of society, working, paying taxes, obeying civil laws, spending money, etc.

I sort of understand where they are coming from, it does seem like the secular world ‘made out’ a little too much and/ or benefited too much from the bible, in the form it is now. MANY non-religious people I know dont think this was coincidence, they think way back when, church leaders, along with secular authorities kind of got together and decided what was best for both of them, and what would not be so good…a great way to keep the population under control, keep them going to work each day, keep them abiding by all the laws of the land, keep them paying taxes, fines, fees, etc.

Example would be taxes, the bible says we must ‘give to Caesar what is Caesars, and what is Gods, to God’…why would God care if Govts got their taxes or not? lol on the surface, it seems a bit wrong, kind of like, 'I am God, I am your creator, worship NO ONE else, my church is whats important in this world, but oh yea, make sure you obey all civil laws, pay your taxes, and do what you are told by secular authority…? Cmon!


#3

I suppose with the death of the Apostles, no one can claim direct teaching from Christ himself. Jesus already commissioned his apostles to spread the Good News. He already set up the foundation of the Church and appointed the Chief Shepard. He has already given them the authority to bind and loose, to forgive sins. The arrangement with the Holy Spirit to guide and teach was made. His death and resurrection already opened up the Gates of Heaven.

I would argue that Christ has done and taught all that is necessary for the Apostles to carry out their mission, given his assurance that he will be with them always, setup the preliminary foundation and the HS to guide and teach. Hence no new revelation is necessary. No new prophets either.

The opposite will mean that Jesus didn’t complete his mission on earth and that he needed more people to say or do more things.


#4

Four Criteria for Canonicity (which books were accepted into the NT Canon, and the reasons why):
Apostolic Origin – attributed to and based on the preaching/teaching of the first-generation apostles (or their close companions).
Universal Acceptance – acknowledged by The Church in the ancient world (by the end of the fourth century).
Liturgical Use – read publicly at the weekly Divine Liturgy (mass).
Consistent with Church Teaching – containing a theological outlook consistent with Church Doctrine


#5

The canon of scripture doesn’t mean that everything else is uninspired human production. For example infallible dogmas are inspired as well and some Church fathers writings are also directly from God, like for example The Shepherd of Hermas. But I find it good to separate scriptures into different groups, so into Bible, Church fathers, Church teachers, Dogmas…

So it is good to let the Bible stay as it is, but not to fall into the sola scriptura fairy tale.

This is not 100% wrong, because the Church decided what is scripture and what not, because in original Christianity the Church was seen as the foundation of Christianity and not the Bible.


#6

If the biblical canon were never closed, we would never have a biblical canon or a definitive bible to study. It would always be changing; the Magisterium would always be adding to it, etc. One of the requirements for inclusion in the biblical canon is apostolicity. However, as the poster above me indicated, that does not mean that later works were not also the inspired work of God. We have to rely on the Church when determining if they were or were not.There is much we can learn from even if it is not inspired.


#7

There is nothing wrong with cherry picking the truths from the untruths. Their conclusions may be clouded by their own opinion what it should be. Then that would equally qualify them for the charge of cherry picking as well for themselves.

I sort of understand where they are coming from, it does seem like the secular world ‘made out’ a little too much and/ or benefited too much from the bible, in the form it is now. MANY non-religious people I know dont think this was coincidence, they think way back when, church leaders, along with secular authorities kind of got together and decided what was best for both of them, and what would not be so good…a great way to keep the population under control, keep them going to work each day, keep them abiding by all the laws of the land, keep them paying taxes, fines, fees, etc.

I feel such comments were made out of ignorance. Church leaders were being persecuted during its early years. Christians hunted down, tortured, fed to wild animals. Killed for their beliefs basically. Survival and spreading its mission is of primary importance. Statement like " .a great way to keep the population under control, keep them going to work each day, keep them abiding by all the laws of the land, keep them paying taxes, fines, fees, etc." have zero basis. If you have basis, disclose them. Hearsay and statements not based on facts is not a basis. The Church nor the Bible teaches this. Do not confuse religion causing something vs politicians with religious beliefs causing something. What you said happens anywhere, REGARDLESS of religion. Communism is one of them. Dictatorship is another.

Example would be taxes, the bible says we must ‘give to Caesar what is Caesars, and what is Gods, to God’…why would God care if Govts got their taxes or not? lol on the surface, it seems a bit wrong, kind of like, 'I am God, I am your creator, worship NO ONE else, my church is whats important in this world, but oh yea, make sure you obey all civil laws, pay your taxes, and do what you are told by secular authority…? Cmon!

This is God’s way of keeping his commandments. Do not steal, even from Caesar. Pay your dues, even to Caesar. Many civil laws have a moral basis. Would your philosophy makes it alright stealing from people you are not fond of? Would your philosophy makes it alright not to pay your taxes, although you may think your country owes you the right to freedoms, right to speech, right to clean water, air , security etc which are ultimately a result of people who have been funded by the population to make sure these rights materialized? Which secular authority would be compatible with your philosophy? You can always give up your citizenship if you fundamentally oppose the way your country is run and find a replacement. I very much doubt you can find utopia, it exists only in your mind. If you are running that utopia country, I’d think you would also think of “a great way to keep the population under control, keep them going to work each day, keep them abiding by all the laws of the land, keep them paying taxes, fines, fees, etc” If you don’t, that country would be bankrupt and anarchy, chaos the order of the day. This sort of thinking is ultimately very self centered. How nice it would be for me to not to pay my taxes or fines. But if everyone else thinks the same, how do you navigate out of that mess? How would it be fair for you not to pay your taxes but everyone else should?


#8

Mainly I believe the Bible is complete (and therefore closed) because the Church says so, and the Church says so because nothing more is needed. The Bible’s message is complete because Christ’s work is complete. Our salvation is accomplished through Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).


#9

I agree with you that no one but Christ could save us, but I believe (and I am taught in theology courses) that God’s work is far from complete. Christ’s church must be built up, souls must be saved, etc. Christ’s work will not be complete until he returns to establish his kingdom here on earth and that kingdom is, in fact, established. The Holy Spirit is now very active in Christ’s church, working through its members. We are all still laborers in Christ’s vineyard.


#10

In addition to other answers, I do not know for certain that the canon is “closed.” Here is a post I made a while ago explaining.

Edit: looks like that link in the quote is gone and not on the internet archive, but here’s another article talking about Trent and passing over books “in silence.”


#11

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