The Bible was created by man

Discussion in 'Quackenbush's' started by Crockett, Feb 23, 2014.

  1. Horns11

    Horns11 5,000+ Posts

    I've been reading "Making Sense of the Bible" by Adam Hamilton, and while it's obvious that he has leanings a certain way, he addresses a lot of the topics on this thread.

    1. Science stuff (if you can even call it that) in the Bible can't be trusted because most of the methodology to actually study it wasn't invented until the last 500 years, or even 50 years for DNA, etc.

    2. Saying that all scripture is "God-breathed," to quote Paul, isn't the same as saying God wrote it or even that God moved the pen. Paul came up with the word (a portmanteau) to describe how HE felt about "scripture," and considering the New Testament wasn't compiled yet by Christians since he was writing it, it's both overly personal (he was saying that it inspired him, when others could be inspired by something else like nature, relationships, spoken words, etc.) and opinionated. So the stuff about women not having authority was more of a "right place, right time" lesson for a specific group of people, not a call to action for people almost 2000 years later. Hamilton calls it "reading someone else's mail." Really old mail.

    3. What Crockett said in the original post basically holds true: putting the words of the book on the same level as the Trinity is kind of offensive to the Trinity. It's words. "Verbal, plenary inspiration," as Hamilton calls it, developed because Christians got tired of defending stuff that seemed indefensible, like why God tells the Hebrews to destroy their enemies and Jesus said to love enemies (because you can't mess with God's Word!). It was an overreaction that, to an extent, still rings with the more conservative sects of Christianity out there. And it was an overreaction created by men in modern times (post-1700), NOT Biblical men.
  2. Monahorns

    Monahorns 5,000+ Posts

    Paul writing "all Scripture is God-breathed" isn't reasonably contrued as meaning Paul was inspired by Scripture because that is simply not what he wrote. Carrying a modern sense of feeling inspired into the text is a much more questionable way of interpreting an ancient writing than taking the words at face value.
  3. Horns11

    Horns11 5,000+ Posts

    But if he made up the word (God-breathed), then how is it to be taken at face value if the word hadn't been used in literature before? The Greek for "breathed" can also mean "spirited," and it's just translated as "breathed" because of the "pneu-" prefix.

    It's impossible to gauge what Paul meant, especially if he had a transcriber write it for him, so the "infallibility" crowd can't possibly point to only "the words" as the path of least resistance to its meaning.
  4. Monahorns

    Monahorns 5,000+ Posts

    A word being used in other literature is helpful but not required to understand the meaning of a word. It absolutely helps though. I agree with you there.

    But how hard is it to really get an idea about what Paul meant? theopneustos. It is clearly a combination of two more common greek words, god and breathe. How exactly it is translated isn't that important to me as much as seeing that we can see where Paul is going with it. Its obvious that scripture is written by a human, so we see human activity. But then Paul identifies the source, God's breath. You could think about it being His words or from Him directly in some way. It is a mysterious statement on some level. But the context gives more insight to remove some of the mystery.

    Then couple that with Peter's explanation in 2 Peter 1:16-21 and the picture gets even clearer.

    The idea is not that sacred writings can give us a feeling of inspiration, an emotion. Like I said before that is taking a more modern idea and inserting into the text. The idea is that there is something from God that we can read and be certain of and it will lead to faith in Jesus, wisdom to follow, understanding of God, and a transformed life.
  5. Monahorns

    Monahorns 5,000+ Posts

    To your point about the word for breathed can mean spirited. The idea of breath, wind, and spirit was all synonomous in Hebrew culture. However the words are all a little different. Spirit is pneuma while breathe is pnew. Looking at how pnew is conjugated gives evidence of its link to pneustos. Plus the verb spirited does not show up in the bible but breathed does for further context.
  6. Horns11

    Horns11 5,000+ Posts

    "The idea is not that sacred writings can give us a feeling of inspiration, an emotion. Like I said before that is taking a more modern idea and inserting into the text. The idea is that there is something from God that we can read and be certain of and it will lead to faith in Jesus, wisdom to follow, understanding of God, and a transformed life."

    I feel like that's more of a "have your cake and eat it too" standpoint. There was no New Testament or fully-agreed-upon versions of the writings, or scripture, at the point when Paul or the author of 2 Timothy came up with the statement. There were bits and pieces. And most of those bits and pieces were passed down orally, then written by others later. There's way too much reality on the side of being moved by the spirit, and not enough on going into some trance-like state with God moving the pen. I don't doubt the last part you state when you say "we can read and be certain of and it will lead to faith in Jesus, wisdom to follow, understanding of God, and a transformed life," but implying that it's directly from God when an author from the first century may or may not have meant it that way is too arbitrary.
  7. Monahorns

    Monahorns 5,000+ Posts

    Well, Paul in 2 Timothy 3 is mostly talking about the OT. He is calling TImothy to remember the things he learned as a child. But the implication of ALL scripture is that it applies to the NT as it is forming.

    Then you have what Peter said.

  8. Gadfly

    Gadfly 250+ Posts

    You guys are very smart (sincerely), and I enjoy reading your thoughts. At the same time, It's nice when beliefs don’t require creative interpretation, convenient rationalization, or cognitive estrangement.
  9. Crockett

    Crockett 5,000+ Posts

    So Monahan, you really believe that when Paul was writing his letters, he knew he was writing scripture and that some would give his writing equal weight with the sermons of Jesus or the letters God himself wrote into stone when Moses went up the mountain?
  10. Horns11

    Horns11 5,000+ Posts

    Well, the word "scripture" literally means writings, so yeah, Paul knew that his words were being written and copied.

    And Peter giving credence to Paul's writings is just that... credence. Everyone who knew Paul knew of his conversion. And the fact that he was a great salesman who could speak multiple languages and get a dozen (if not more) churches started. Paul's writings were given special dispensation among early Christians because he was Paul. Did anyone come after Paul who had a better mastery of written language? Maybe. But Paul was Paul, and that's why Peter included that statement. Not to put it on the same level as the OT, but to tell Christians "if you want to have a better understanding, read Paul's letters."
  11. Monahorns

    Monahorns 5,000+ Posts

    Crockett, I am not sure what Paul knew about his writings at the time they were written. In fact Paul wrote letters that did not come to be regarded as "Scripture". He mentions some of them in the letters that are considered that. At the same time, it is clear that Peter regarded Paul as an author of "Scripture". The passage I quoted above is explicitly clear. Paul did know he was an apostle though and claimed to speak the words of God on many occasions, so it is logical to think he had some sense that he wrote the words of God sometimes.

    I think it would be helpful for you to read 1 Corinthians 7 and take note of what Paul says about the commands that he gives that church. He does seem to be aware when he is giving God's words and when he is giving his own opinion. It is fascinating to me, the kind of self commentary he does.

    Horns11, I think we are seeing similar things in the verses I am mentioning. Where we are different is that you seem to minimize or soften the statements of the authors. Maybe I am giving them too much weight, but my attempt is to let the words and the context determine the weight. Would you say the words themselves have more weight than you are giving them? If not or if so, why?
  12. Horns11

    Horns11 5,000+ Posts

    I guess I'd like to know what you define as "weight." I think humans wrote in a context that was appropriate for the time and for their audience. It's natural and we still do this. That doesn't mean they weren't inspired to write these things down. I know a lot of stuff that got left out of the Bible also claimed to be inspired in some way or another, but because the early church leaders disregarded a lot of it (sometimes for the sole reason that it wasn't memorable and most of society was illiterate), it didn't make the cut.

    I don't mean to "gloss over" anything from the Bible, but I think it's appropriate to look at everything with a critical eye and analyze the writings as we would analyze anything else written from 90 AD. There's a lot of stuff in old writings that can be deemed "not quite God's will for today," but through analysis, we can see the intent of the original message.

    I feel that God spoke to the authors in different ways, but that doesn't mean that God physically wrote the Word.
  13. Monahorns

    Monahorns 5,000+ Posts

    I will try to explain what I mean by weight. I quoted 2 Peter 3:15-16. Shown again below.

  14. Horns11

    Horns11 5,000+ Posts

    "16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction."

    I see this as "dumb and misguided people out there are changing the meanings of Paul's and others' writings, to their own future consequences." Early church leaders kind of had the authority to say things like this, much like some type of partisan political argument over the Constitution today. Someone on the right side of the aisle can stand up and say "treating the Constitution like a living document with activist judgments is going to be the peril of the nation," and they might even feel inspired to say it. But they're still human.

    It's probably also why some of those early writings were left out of the New Testament, because they were at odds with guys like Paul and Peter. Again, that doesn't mean I don't think they were inspired to say something like it. Just not God moving the pen in my opinion.
  15. ProdigalHorn

    ProdigalHorn 10,000+ Posts

    There's lots of ways that God could inspire scripture without forcibly moving the pen or preventing individual expression/personality, while still ensuring that the full truth is included. For some reason we get to the point where it's either inspiration as in possession or inspiration as in "i was sitting here and an inspiration struck me, so I started writing stuff down".

    As to Paul's writings being on par with Jesus' statements, Jesus' statements to the apostles were that he would send a helper to "guide them into all truth", and later that they were to "teach them all things I have commanded you" - so the apostolic teachings WERE Jesus' teachings. Paul being an apostle, having been contact directly by Christ and having received the "right hand of fellowship" from Peter and James (Gal 2, Acts 15), it's not a stretch to say that yes, Paul's writings are as important as the red type in the gospels.

    It's a weird argument when people try to say that only the red type is significant, or that it's somehow more important, when the only difference between the two is that in one cases the writer is quoting Jesus directly and in another case the writer is conveying additional teachings that Jesus had commanded to be passed on. In both cases, it's a third party writing it, so the idea that the epistles were written after the fact doesn't hold weight - all the New Testament was written "after the fact" by people who were not Jesus.
  16. ProdigalHorn

    ProdigalHorn 10,000+ Posts

  17. Monahorns

    Monahorns 5,000+ Posts

    ProdigalHorn, captures what I believe about inspiration as well.

    One thing to consider concerning Peter and Paul's writings is that they were both personally taught by Jesus. That is obvious for Peter, so we can see what he writes as the things Jesus taught him before the crucifiction. For Paul, it is a little more mysterious though. Still, when defending his apostleship in Galatians

  18. Horns11

    Horns11 5,000+ Posts

    So maybe it's more of an "Old Testament vs. New Testament" distinction? Since Peter and Paul heard Jesus, they had more authority among early Christians to create writings that became the "literal" word of God? Peter and Paul even disagreed on issues that the church was struggling with.

    How about what Jews feel about the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament)? Is the word of God to raze 31 city-states and kill every living thing inside them so that Jews could inherit a 7,000 square mile tract of land? Sounds a lot like the rationale of dudes who commit modern acts of genocide, like Milosevic. But someone was inspired to write about that, so does that inspiration come from God? Or were they just inspired to record what they perceived as history lessons?
  19. UTChE96

    UTChE96 2,500+ Posts

  20. chango

    chango 2,500+ Posts

  21. Crockett

    Crockett 5,000+ Posts

    Basically, you start with Adam, created on the 6th day, and add up birthdays and other events of the Bible that are painstakingly chronicled in Genesis, then merge with timelines in other cultures with whom Hebrews interacted and some feel they can pretty accuately date the age of the world. The "Biblical inerrancy" of the 6th day makes the math of a 6,000 year old earth work for many fundamentalists.
  22. UTChE96

    UTChE96 2,500+ Posts

    That is your own deduction. The Scriptures do not say anything about the age of the world. Nor does the Bible explicitly say how much time elapses between Genesis 1:1 and 1:3.
  23. Crockett

    Crockett 5,000+ Posts

    Just to be clear, I added up the numbers as I read Genesis, but never felt I had "deduced" the age of the World. Please know the idea of a 6,000 year old earth didn't originate with Crockett.

    Since the Bible is widely read, no doubt the approximate age of the earth has been "deduced" millions of times and for some fraction of readers has been accepted as "Gospel." Personally, I believe earth has been around for millions of years.

    I can say with confidence there are lots of people who believe the earth is roughly 6,000 years old because of what they've read in the Bible and hold me in low regard because I don't.

    Any conflict you have with the deduction should be resolved with them. For one Biblical scholar's perspective on young earth go toThe Link

    The Bible is not a good text on science. It's an amazing book about God, man as a thinking creature, man's relationship to God and man's relationships with one another.
  24. Horns11

    Horns11 5,000+ Posts

    The accompanying articles from the sidebar of the ICR are mind-numbing. "You can't use reason and observation if you weren't there" seems to be the recurring theme.
  25. I_Live_In_OK

    I_Live_In_OK 500+ Posts

  26. It Hurts

    It Hurts 100+ Posts

    The real history of God.

    1. Man got greedy and needed control over other men.

    The End.
  27. ShAArk92

    ShAArk92 1,000+ Posts

    Outstanding topic, &, like others, I WILL NOT SUPPOSE to have all the answers. That said:

    In the Beginning was The Word, and The Word was with God, & The Word was God.

    It's all about Christ. The Bible is God's Word. Men took "dictation." Men didn't write The Bible.

    It's infallible ... and the Holy Spirit gives us the wisdom to understand it as we study it. Its Truth is measured to us by the Holy Spirit, not the Pope nor any clergy, not even Paul himself.

    I don't know the exact age of the Earth. I do know our "scientific processes" have been revealed to have issues, too. My best example of that is the carbon dating of the Mt. St Helens ash ... the sediments of a few years dated hundreds of thousands when we witnessed the event & knew how long those layers had been there.

    Science is the beginning, not the end, and a life of faith is not incongruent with science.

    Jesus said he has other flocks. Was that other people in this world as he spoke to Jews ... or other life on other planets?

    Lifespan differences is pretty easy to identify ... post flood ... we have been exposed to much more (solar) radiation than before. 8-900 years doesn't seem to be unrealistic without that exposure. It's why we're starting to see more frequent flyers succumbing to cancer.

    Anyhow ... Peace y'all ... it's all about Christ.
  28. Horns11

    Horns11 5,000+ Posts

    "Men took "dictation." Men didn't write The Bible."

    So what about how different denominations use different books in the Bible and/or different orders of books? Were some not "dictated" well enough?

    Several Biblical scholars have shown that the selection process for making "the cut" of the Bible basically came down to politics and power. Churches in the west (anything west of Asia Minor) tended to stick with more conservative books and eliminate anything that sounded too mystical. There's even jealous witness stories about how some dude's book would get cut because he wasn't the correct saint to pray to. By the time the First Nicene council, a scant 295 years since Jesus was crucified, there were something like 40 different Bible versions (not translations, mind you... that's different), and major Christian denominations have whittled that down to 3 accepted types (Apocryphal, etc.).

    So if your answer is just "well, the Protestant version is the right one," then I guess you're saying several books of the Bible weren't dictated by God.
  29. Monahorns

    Monahorns 5,000+ Posts

    Horns11, I don't know what scholars you are reading but I have read some on the subject too and it is represented by what you said.

    The issue you are talking about is canonicity and it is truly a difficult issue to understand. The Hebrew Bible that is accepted today is represented in the Protestant Old Testament, so there is at least agreement between two different groups on what books should be included in the writing before Christ. The Apocrypha or deuterocanonical books were added "later" by the Catholic and Orthodox churches. Even then the term deutero-canonical which is accepted by all groups shows that even when these writings are printed in a Bible they are recognized as having a different nature than the others.

    You don't have the same thing in the NT but reading the history shows that pretty anything that was considered canon early on was included. None of the gnostic gospels show up on any list in the early church. Mainly because none of them were written at the time. They all were written much later. Or they were simple identified by everyone as something else other than inspired. Some other writings were included at times like the Didache or the Shepard of Hermas but once churches started taking a real look at them they were removed because there wasn't any unique teaching in them and they were recognized to be later writings.

    In fact, you will find that the books that were truly debated by the churches were are included in the canon ultimately. Books like James, Revelation, and Hebrews were accepted by some and not others but eventually were accepted by all.
  30. LonghornCatholic

    LonghornCatholic Catholic like Sarkisian

    Nor does the Bible teach what the gentleman stated. He is following his tradition.
    • Agree Agree x 1

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