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Scripture

This tag is associated with 3 posts

Sunday Quote!- Is Natural Revelation Infallible?

100_2744Every Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

Is Natural Revelation Infallible?

I’ve been reading through the free ebook A Reformed Approach to Science and Scripture by Keith Mathison, and I came upon some interesting passages discussing natural revelation in the Reformed tradition (I’m Lutheran, so this is from an outsider). Mathison is keen to show that natural revelation–that is, that which God demonstrates through the created order–is capable of conveying truth. But his claim goes well beyond that modest level:

God’s revelation in creation is equally as infallible as His revelation in Scripture, because in both cases, it is God who is doing the revealing, and God is always infallible. (Kindle Location 208-212)

Mathison’s point, I think, well-taken. The fact is that natural revelation, if we assume is something God does, would be by definition infallible. After all, God cannot err. Thus, Mathison is correct. What I think is often missed in discussions about this and other topics related to creation is that although it is perhaps easier for humans to make mistakes when it comes to the natural world, it is quite possible (and obvious) that mistakes are made in interpretation of special revelation–Scripture–as well.

What do you think? Is natural revelation infallible? If so, what does this say about how we should interact on science-faith issues? If not, how does error creep in? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)

Source

Keith Mathison, A Reformed Approach to Science and Scripture (Ligonier Ministries, 2013).

SDG.

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Sunday Quote!- Does Science Limit Exegesis?

brt-youngstearleyEvery Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

Does Science Limit Exegesis?

I’ve been rereading The Bible, Rocks and Time: Geological Evidence for the Age of the Earth, a monumental book I would consider necessary reading for anyone interested in the debate over origins within Christianity. Anyway, I came upon a quote I found pretty striking and thought I’d share it:

[T]he claims advanced in favor of a young Earth or Flood geology remain unacceptable to the scientific community. Thus their claims should also be unacceptable within the church, which… ought to be committed to truth and reality–for the simple reason that the young-Earth creationist claims lack scientific credibility. (161)

Now I think this is a pretty obviously controversial claim for a few reasons. First, the immediate question is how broad Davis and Stearley are intending this to be. After all, one might say that God creating the universe is “unacceptable” depending how one defines the scientific community. Of course, they do qualify the statement by noting that what they mean is that the evidence young earth creationists put forward can often, in principle, be tested for; and when tested, it fails muster. In this sense, I think that one might say the statement is acceptable.

Second, one may object to this noting that science often changes consensus, so what is “unacceptable” today becomes in vogue tomorrow. A problem with this claim is that it flies in the face of the real, overwhelming evidence for an ancient Earth. I’ve examined this and many other arguments YECs put forth in my post on YEC arguments.

Third, one might wonder exactly how Davis and Stearley think science and exegesis are supposed to interact. Though this is a far cry from the purpose of their book, statements like these beg the question of whether science really does limit exegesis.

What are your thoughts?

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Answering Common Young Earth Creationist Arguments– I evaluate a number of arguments for young earth creationism. There are a large number of biblical, philosophical, and scientific arguments briefly answered here.

What options are there in the origins debate? – A Taxonomy of Christian Origins Positions– I clarify the breadth of options available for Christians who want to interact on various levels with models of origins. I think this post is extremely important because it gives readers a chance to see the various positions explained briefly.

Source

Davis A. Young and Ralph F. Stearley, The Bible, Rocks and Time: Geological Evidence for the Age of the Earth(Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2008).

Inerrancy, Scripture, and the “Easy Way Out”

Inerrancy, defined as simply as possible, is the Christian doctrine that the Bible is divinely inspired and without error.

But it is important to move beyond this simple definition, because people often come away with misconceptions about the doctrine. The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy explicates what evangelicals mean when they speak of inerrancy. I highly recommend that anyone interested in Inerrancy read this statement. It clears up a number of misconceptions.

A rejection of inerrancy is frequently due to a misunderstanding of what the doctrine means. Here are some common misreadings of the doctrine:

1) Inerrancy does not mean that there will be no discrepancies between Gospel accounts. These discrepancies, based upon an interpretation given by one who affirms inerrancy, are not seen as errors but as the different authors expressing their biographical accounts in different ways. Unlike modern conceptions that a quoted phrases must be exact, historians in the first century felt at their liberty to rearrange temporal events to better illustrate a common theme. The Gospels can be seen to utilize several methods of ancient biographies as they emphasize certain aspects of Christ’s life.

2) Inerrancy does not mean that there are no cultural or personal aspects to Scripture. An example of this can be seen in the geocentrism in the Bible. That there is geocentrism in the Bible does not undermine inerrancy. Inerrancy is the belief that what the Bible teaches is without error. The Bible does not teach geocentrism, but features it as part of the background beliefs of the cultural context of the authors. The authors have imported their culture into expressing God’s word, but that does not undermine the teachings.

3) Inerrancy does not mean God dictated the Bible word-for-word. This point ties into 2: God used human authors and gave them the leeway to write within their cultural background.

Those who reject inerrancy have taken an easy way out. Rather than investigating the issue of historical grammatical interpretation of Scripture or looking into what inerrancy means, they find what is perceived as an “error” in Scripture and reject the doctrine. The misconceptions outlined above are just a few of the errors made by people who do not investigate the issue seriously enough. Rather than coming upon a difficulty in the text and rejecting inerrancy, I urge readers to explore the difficulty, see what people have to say about it. I’ve found on more than one occasion that something I thought could be an error was explained by a cultural tradition or misreading of the text.

Finally, I’d like to address something that might come up to those reading through this. Often atheists object to the doctrine of inerrancy. I’ve run into this in my own personal discussions with those outside of the faith. They say things like “Do you really think a book written by a bunch of humans is without error?”

Well, if the Christian God exists, then the Bible is not just a book written by a bunch of humans. If God exists, there is no reason to think that God would be incapable of guiding His people to write a book to reveal Himself in a way that allows them to use their historical and cultural contexts without transmitting error in teaching. It would take a very powerful argument to convince me that an omnipotent deity would be unable to do this.

Image credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bibbia_con_rosa.jpg

SDG.

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The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from citations, which are the property of their respective owners) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.

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