Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 79 (8908 total)
Current session began: 
Page Loaded: 05-26-2019 8:00 PM
29 online now:
AZPaul3, Coragyps, DrJones*, dwise1, edge, JonF, xongsmith (7 members, 22 visitors)
Chatting now:  Chat room empty
Newest Member: WeloTemo
Post Volume:
Total: 852,094 Year: 7,130/19,786 Month: 1,671/1,581 Week: 50/443 Day: 50/34 Hour: 0/1


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
1
23456
...
10Next
Author Topic:   The Bible: Is the Author God, Man or Both?
GDR
Member
Posts: 4783
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 1 of 136 (661621)
05-08-2012 10:31 AM


I was having a conversation with Jazzns in another thread but as I had already been chastised for going off topic in that thread I didn’t want it to happen again. I thought that maybe a thread on the topic would be useful.

Jazzns had written this.

Jazzns writes:

Yet you seem perfectly willing to dismiss the obviously ahistoric events of the OT as the "context" of the cultures in which they were written. Why can't that be true for the newer writings?

This was my response:

GDR writes:

I do accept the NT as being personally and culturally conditioned. However that doesn’t mean that what they wrote should be rejected. People recorded things for a reason. Every Biblical author had a point of view and he would write in a way that supports that point of view.

Certainly Matthew had an agenda to connect Jesus to His Jewish roots and looked for ways to make that point. Certainly the writer(s) of the Pastoral Epistles had an agenda that they wanted to convey but that doesn’t make them wrong. Yes there are conflicting opinions in the Bible but IMHO that just makes it more alive. The Christian story is of God working through His created humans beings. He has given us intelligence coupled with enquiring minds along with a sense of morality.

So yes, there are contradictions in the Bible. We don’t have certainty. There is ambiguity. Just look at the different views of Christians on this board.

My own view is that the one constant in the NT is that Jesus was crucified and that He came back in a physical resurrection body. IMHO there is no plausible reason for the Christian movement to get off the ground unless the first Christians, (Jewish though they were of course), were convinced of this fact. I believe that the writers of the Gospels and the Epistles to the best of their ability wrote down the stories of what happened and what it all meant.

Personally I can see no motivation for them to manufacture the whole thing and the Gospel accounts tell a story that isn’t what anyone would write if they were just making it up. It seems obvious to me that they believed what they wrote even if they are writing with their own personal biases. The question then becomes whether or not they were right about the resurrection and then how accurately they recorded the actions and words of Jesus.

We all make up our minds of what we believe about it all and at that point it becomes a faith issue. I believe that the Gospels do tell the story of the resurrection of Jesus in a way that aside from some details is historically accurate. I also believe that the resurrection vindicates the message that in some way the man Jesus was the embodiment of God.

If we just get away from the idea that the Bible has to be inerrant, and that it is God as articulated through Jesus that we worship then we can get an understanding of the nature of God, and that through the teachings of Jesus it is clear that God is good. However, like I said, and no matter how sure I am of what I believe, it is a faith.

Christianity is a faith. It isn’t evidence based in the way that science is which of course does not prove anything about it one way or another. To start with I’d like to make a quick case to provide a rational for coming to a conclusion about the theistic position.

Firstly I contend that it is more plausible to believe that human intelligence and morality are more likely to have evolved from an intelligent moral first cause than from mindless particles without even considering the question of a first cause for the existence of particles.

On the assumption then that we have evolved from an intelligent moral first cause then it is more plausible to assume an ongoing interest and interaction by that pre-existing intelligence than not.

I like to discuss the Bible accepting that the theistic position is correct, that is God (the intelligent moral first cause) exists, and does continue to interact with His creation.

We exist as creatures with the ability to reason. We have a sense of beauty and ugliness, fear and courage, love and hate, right and wrong, good and evil etc. We have enquiring minds with a sense of imagination. It is my belief that God connects with us through human imagination and in one sense, through the choices that we make, we connect with Him.

With this in mind I want to consider the Bible.

Creationists or fundamentalists talk about the Bible as being inspired by God. I’m fine by that but what does it mean?

From the online Oxford dictionary:

quote:
1 [mass noun] the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative:
Helen had one of her flashes of inspiration
the Malvern Hills have provided inspiration for many artists
the quality of being inspired:
a rare moment of inspiration in an otherwise dull display
[count noun] a person or thing that inspires:
he is an inspiration to everyone
divine influence, especially that supposed to have led to the writing of the Bible.
2a sudden brilliant or timely idea:
then I had an inspiration

So yes, I have no problem in agreeing that the Biblical authors were inspired to write what it was that they wrote, but that does not mean that they wrote without their personal and cultural conditioning impacting their efforts. It does not mean that God gave them word for word dictation. It does not mean that they always got it exactly right or does it not mean that didn’t get it exactly wrong.

My discussion point centres on the reply that I gave to Jazzns in the quote above. I believe that if we take the Bible as a collection of historical texts written by men with all of their personal and cultural biases that we can get a much clearer picture of the nature of God and of His creation, than if we attempt to understand the Bible as a book authored by God Himself.

Edited by GDR, : No reason given.

Edited by GDR, : No reason given.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by AdminPD, posted 05-08-2012 12:44 PM GDR has responded
 Message 5 by jar, posted 05-08-2012 7:48 PM GDR has responded
 Message 6 by nwr, posted 05-08-2012 10:45 PM GDR has responded
 Message 10 by kbertsche, posted 05-09-2012 6:40 AM GDR has responded
 Message 13 by Jazzns, posted 05-09-2012 11:15 AM GDR has responded
 Message 19 by Jazzns, posted 05-09-2012 12:25 PM GDR has responded
 Message 136 by kofh2u, posted 12-12-2012 7:50 PM GDR has not yet responded

    
AdminPD
Inactive Administrator


Message 2 of 136 (661622)
05-08-2012 12:44 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by GDR
05-08-2012 10:31 AM


Needs a Clearer Topic
Needs a better title. IMO, it is more about discussing your unique acceptance of the manuscripts and those "certain conclusions", not really understanding what is written in the Bible.

I don't think this is a fit for A&I because it is on the science side and what you present isn't evidence based. It is faith based.

Quite frankly, I can't even suggest a good title. Figure out something better.

I would say Bible Study is a better forum fit.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by GDR, posted 05-08-2012 10:31 AM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by GDR, posted 05-08-2012 7:25 PM AdminPD has not yet responded

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 4783
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 3 of 136 (661623)
05-08-2012 7:25 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by AdminPD
05-08-2012 12:44 PM


Re: Needs a Clearer Topic
OK. I've changed the title and made a couple of other small changes as well in hopes of making it clearer.

Incidentally, I hardly see the position as being unique.

I'm fine with Bible Study.

Thanks


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 2 by AdminPD, posted 05-08-2012 12:44 PM AdminPD has not yet responded

    
AdminPD
Inactive Administrator


Message 4 of 136 (661625)
05-08-2012 7:42 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the The Bible: Is the Author God, Man or Both? thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
jar
Member
Posts: 30944
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 5 of 136 (661627)
05-08-2012 7:48 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by GDR
05-08-2012 10:31 AM


The author, editor, redactor and compiler is Man
The authors of the stories found in the various Bibles are the product of men of a given culture, era, ethos and mythos; they evolve over time as their society evolves. The "Bibles", as anthologies of anthologies, are also the product of men and again the content, the Canons, reflect the culture, mythos and politics of their society.

Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by GDR, posted 05-08-2012 10:31 AM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by GDR, posted 05-09-2012 1:41 AM jar has responded

  
nwr
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 6 of 136 (661647)
05-08-2012 10:45 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by GDR
05-08-2012 10:31 AM


I always assumed that it was written by humans.

When it was referred to as "the word of God", I took that to be a metaphor. When people said it was inspired by God, I never assumed that denied that it was written by humans.

When people referred to the first 5 books as the books of Moses, I took that to be a recognition that it was written by a human, and that it reported much that was not part of the experience of that human.

As this link says, Humans wrote the Bible; God wrote the rocks.

I don't think this was even controversial at the time (my teen years). For sure, the Bible was treated as a special book. But people generally agreed that it was not dictated to the authors of the biblical text.

The idea that the Bible was directly written by God, rather than humans, seems very cultish.


Jesus was a liberal hippie

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by GDR, posted 05-08-2012 10:31 AM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by GDR, posted 05-09-2012 2:05 AM nwr has acknowledged this reply

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 4783
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 7 of 136 (661653)
05-09-2012 1:41 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by jar
05-08-2012 7:48 PM


Re: The author, editor, redactor and compiler is Man
jar writes:

The authors of the stories found in the various Bibles are the product of men of a given culture, era, ethos and mythos; they evolve over time as their society evolves. The "Bibles", as anthologies of anthologies, are also the product of men and again the content, the Canons, reflect the culture, mythos and politics of their society.

I'm fine with all of that but I think we have to go further. It is written by men that were to the best of their understanding writing about the role God played in their own lives and in the life of their community. As I said I believe that God does connect with us through human imagination and sometimes they would have gotten it right and sometimes not so much.

I believe that the Gospels are written to be understood as completely historical in terms of what happened to Jesus and what He said. That does not mean that what they wrote isn't influenced by their own understanding, but I believe that they completely believed what they wrote. We can make up our own minds as to whether they were correct or not.

I also think that the Bible is a tool that is used by an engaged God to speak again through human imagination. It is my belief though that when we understand the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God then we will come away with a distorted view of the nature of God as well as a distorted view of His relationship with His creation.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by jar, posted 05-08-2012 7:48 PM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by PaulK, posted 05-09-2012 2:07 AM GDR has responded
 Message 11 by jar, posted 05-09-2012 9:01 AM GDR has responded
 Message 12 by hooah212002, posted 05-09-2012 9:25 AM GDR has not yet responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 4783
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 8 of 136 (661654)
05-09-2012 2:05 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by nwr
05-08-2012 10:45 PM


nwr writes:

I always assumed that it was written by humans.
When it was referred to as "the word of God", I took that to be a metaphor. When people said it was inspired by God, I never assumed that denied that it was written by humans.

When people referred to the first 5 books as the books of Moses, I took that to be a recognition that it was written by a human, and that it reported much that was not part of the experience of that human.

As this link says, Humans wrote the Bible; God wrote the rocks.
I don't think this was even controversial at the time (my teen years). For sure, the Bible was treated as a special book. But people generally agreed that it was not dictated to the authors of the biblical text.

The idea that the Bible was directly written by God, rather than humans, seems very cultish.

It seems to me that sub-consciously much of North American fundamentalism understand that the Bible is written by men, but that the idea that is the Word of God implies that it is inerrant. With this as the starting point then when obvious contradictions are pointed out the answer is that if we had greater knowledge we would understand what is written and there would be no contradiction. Either that or the meaning is twisted around so it says something that isn't there, and was never intended by the author to be there.

As has been pointed out in numerous threads the god of the OT is very different in many instances as the God that we see incarnate in Jesus in the NT. In the Gospels Jesus, as recorded by the author of Matthew, points out where the OT authors got it wrong.

As I've said befrore, Christianity is supposed to be about the worship of God as embodied by Jesus, not about the worship of the Bible.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by nwr, posted 05-08-2012 10:45 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply

    
PaulK
Member
Posts: 14961
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 9 of 136 (661655)
05-09-2012 2:07 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by GDR
05-09-2012 1:41 AM


Re: The author, editor, redactor and compiler is Man
Obviously we must realise that the Gospel writers had strong biases and that their source material was little better. They may well have believed what they wrote - but it is also very likely that that belief often lacked an adequate rational foundation.

Indeed, given the marked disagreements between Matthew and Luke how could we possibly consider the Gospels reliable ? And if they are not reliable, on what basis can we conclude that God had any role in their writing ?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by GDR, posted 05-09-2012 1:41 AM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by GDR, posted 05-09-2012 11:34 AM PaulK has responded

    
kbertsche
Member (Idle past 273 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 10 of 136 (661662)
05-09-2012 6:40 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by GDR
05-08-2012 10:31 AM


The issue of human or divine authorship depends on how we understand the inspiration of Scripture. This is a complicated and nuanced topic. Many evangelical Christians don't understand it very well, and non-Christians certainly don't.

As Michael Patton says:

Michael Patton writes:

Much time will be spent on the commonly held view of inspiration called “Mechanical Dictation.” It will be argued that this view evidences a neglect of the human element of Scripture, what we call “biblical Docetism, and is the primary hindrance to proper interpretation in many evangelical communities today. Most basically stated: without a proper view of inspiration, one cannot have a proper hermeneutic. The goal of this lesson is to provide a detailed defense of what is often called the “Verbal Plenary” doctrine of inspiration.

There is a theological analogy between the written Word of God (the Bible) and the living Word of God (Jesus). Just as Jesus was both fully man and fully God, so the Bible's authorship is both fully human and fully divine. Every word in the entire Bible was inspired by God ("verbal plenary" inspiration). But (nearly) every word and sentence was also composed by a human author, and his cultural mileau, human limitations, and personal style shine through.

My answer to the OPs question is "both".


"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." – Albert Einstein

“I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.” – Erwin Schroedinger


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by GDR, posted 05-08-2012 10:31 AM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by GDR, posted 05-09-2012 11:51 AM kbertsche has not yet responded

    
jar
Member
Posts: 30944
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 11 of 136 (661680)
05-09-2012 9:01 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by GDR
05-09-2012 1:41 AM


Re: The author, editor, redactor and compiler is Man
I also think that the Bible is a tool that is used by an engaged God to speak again through human imagination. It is my belief though that when we understand the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God then we will come away with a distorted view of the nature of God as well as a distorted view of His relationship with His creation.

Lost me there completely. Using over 2000 year old material hardly seems like something an engaged god might do.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by GDR, posted 05-09-2012 1:41 AM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by GDR, posted 05-09-2012 12:08 PM jar has responded

  
hooah212002
Member
Posts: 3183
Joined: 08-12-2009


Message 12 of 136 (661682)
05-09-2012 9:25 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by GDR
05-09-2012 1:41 AM


Re: The author, editor, redactor and compiler is Man
I also think that the Bible is a tool that is used by an engaged God to speak again through human imagination.

So this god character decides the best way to communicate to his creation is 2000 years ago through the imagination of desert dwelling sheep herders in a language that, very soon after he "engages" them, dies out? So he cares enough to "engage" these sheep herders 2000 years ago to kill himself for himself, but leaves it up to their imagination to determine what he means as opposed to just telling them? Nevermind the fact that, so engaged is he, that he tells them which fabrics to wear and how to sacrifice goats, but utterly fails to say "look, slavery in ANY form is bad, mmkay? Oh, and that rape? Yea, just because he pays you off and marries his victim...yea, still not OK. Rape is bad, guys". Is he so incompetent that he can't use language clear enough so as to require apologetics or translation?

You worship this thing....why?

Off Topic

Edited by AdminPD, : Warning


"Science is interesting, and if you don't agree you can fuck off." -Dawkins

This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by GDR, posted 05-09-2012 1:41 AM GDR has not yet responded

    
Jazzns
Member (Idle past 2053 days)
Posts: 2657
From: A Better America
Joined: 07-23-2004


Message 13 of 136 (661694)
05-09-2012 11:15 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by GDR
05-08-2012 10:31 AM


Please fix quote in OP
I am crafting a reply but if you would kindly please fix the quote from me that you brought over from the other thread:

My quote was:

Jazzns writes:

Yet you seem perfectly willing to dismiss the obviously ahistoric events of the OT as the "context" of the cultures in which they were written. Why can't that be true for the newer writings? If you readily accept that the facts of the story of Moses and Joshua are indeed bullshit then why do you give a pass to the equally anonymous, equally agenda driven posthumous ghost writings of Paul and the gospel writers?

I don't know if you typed it or what but you changed ahistoric to historic which changes my quote greatly.

Edited by Jazzns, : No reason given.


BUT if objects for gratitude and admiration are our desire, do they not present themselves every hour to our eyes? Do we not see a fair creation prepared to receive us the instant we are born --a world furnished to our hands, that cost us nothing? Is it we that light up the sun; that pour down the rain; and fill the earth with abundance? Whether we sleep or wake, the vast machinery of the universe still goes on. Are these things, and the blessings they indicate in future, nothing to, us? Can our gross feelings be excited by no other subjects than tragedy and suicide? Or is the gloomy pride of man become so intolerable, that nothing can flatter it but a sacrifice of the Creator? --Thomas Paine

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by GDR, posted 05-08-2012 10:31 AM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by GDR, posted 05-09-2012 11:19 AM Jazzns has not yet responded

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 4783
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 14 of 136 (661696)
05-09-2012 11:19 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Jazzns
05-09-2012 11:15 AM


Re: Please fix quote in OP
I'm sorry Jazzns. When I copied it out I just quickly looked at it and thought it was a typo. I've changed it.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Jazzns, posted 05-09-2012 11:15 AM Jazzns has not yet responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 4783
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 15 of 136 (661698)
05-09-2012 11:34 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by PaulK
05-09-2012 2:07 AM


Re: The author, editor, redactor and compiler is Man
PaulK writes:

Obviously we must realise that the Gospel writers had strong biases and that their source material was little better. They may well have believed what they wrote - but it is also very likely that that belief often lacked an adequate rational foundation.
Indeed, given the marked disagreements between Matthew and Luke how could we possibly consider the Gospels reliable ? And if they are not reliable, on what basis can we conclude that God had any role in their writing ?

The differences between Matthew and Luke are in the details not the primary point which is the resurrection of Jesus.

In what way did their beliefs lack a rational foundation? The sense is that the authors, likely based on previously written source material, are saying that although this sounds incredible this is what was observed. They were aware that this event was something well out of the ordinary.

In the OP I tried to present a brief rationale for a theistic deity. On the basis that we accept a creative intelligence that remains engaged then the idea of what we call miraculous is rational. Certainly the Gospel writers believed in a interventionist deity.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by PaulK, posted 05-09-2012 2:07 AM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 20 by PaulK, posted 05-09-2012 1:04 PM GDR has responded

    
1
23456
...
10Next
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2018 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.0 Beta
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2019