Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Inerrancy, Doubts, and Faith

I’ve been talking to S. about our struggles with the Bible—especially as taking it as “inerrant truth.” Both she and I struggle with that “faith” in the Bible stories as precise, historical truth. I think of how I accepted them without question as a child and passed them on that way. But later they have become a real source of questioning, even of doubt, for me--and also for some of those to whom I taught the stories as historical fact.

Yet I also suffer from “guilt” for even questioning my “faith” in the stories as presented. And for wondering if God really did tell the Israelites, for example, to kill every living person and animals, and other things like that. I find myself wondering if they interpreted their understanding of God and his ways through the dominant tribalistic cultural ways of their time (don’t we still do the same)? And if so, what does that say about the “inerrant truth” of scripture? 

I see God revealing Himself overall (and especially through Jesus), but at the same time, I wonder how much in the Bible is man’s understanding and interpretation? I wonder what the Bible would sound like and focus on if it were written today—even by faithful, well-meaning, knowledgeable Christians who are doing their best to serve God and to love and follow and believe in Jesus? How might people a hundred or thousand years from now look back at the books we have written in our era about “what God has told me.” 

For that matter, we often look askance at interpretations by present Christian people we admire generally but have a hard time believing God really told them this or that. In fact, I have had plenty of doubts, looking back (sometimes not too far—or even presently) at things I’ve been pretty sure He’s been “telling” or “directing” me (including things I've written in this blog. I've thought of going through and removing some things--but the blog is a "Journey" as the title says, and those things are part of it). Things that seemed right in the moment, but it didn't take long for me to have second thoughts. 

How oh how do we possibly know and understand these "matters of faith"? I really do think we truly still, even with all our knowledge and theology, “see through a glass darkly”—and yes, will continue to do so until we “see face to face.”