When considering the inspiration and “God-ness” of the Bible, bear in mind that accounting for the human side of the inspiration/preservation process is not a denial of the divine origin of the content of Scripture. Rather, maintaining some measure of proportionality between the divine and human nature of the text is “an accounting for how the Bible is God’s word,” not a denial of it. What we have to get at is how Scripture is both a divine Word (from God) and a human Word (through man in history). The danger of affirming Scripture as God’s Word without accounting for the human side is that it denies God’s own choice and activity in how God delivered His Word to man. The scope of our theory of inspiration must be about to discuss and unpack (to some degree) how the biblical authors are not only chosen to write but are also prepared for that task. If we don’t do this, we will end up affirming a theory that is unhappily dictation-like: God just takes them over and those humans end up becoming nothing more than a pen. It is problematic to hold such a view because the biblical data is not represented in any substantial way. For instance, Jeremiah curses the day he was born and wishes that the man who brought the news to his father would be cursed as well (Jer. 20:14 – 15). If we say that Jeremiah is only a pen, then how are we to attribute these words to the Spirit? If, however, we can include God’s preparatory work of the authors — not divesting them of their words — then we can attribute these words to Jeremiah as expressing His ongoing relation to God the Spirit in and through such turmoil. These words only arise in the way they do because Jeremiah is taking his responses and cues from God in his relationship with God. In this way, we might be able to find a way forward in explaining how those words are God’s word instead of just vainly saying that those words are God’s word (denying any contribution from Jeremiah) without any clear way how that could be the case. God does not drop the Bible from heaven, but He does give it in and through the historical conditions man is subject to. This is God’s choice, and we have to honor it. As pious as it sounds to affirm Scripture as God’s word while denying or disregarding its human characteristics and limitations is actually a heresy called “Docetic Bibliology,” which means something like “only a divine Bible.” Docetism is the ancient heresy of the denial of the humanity of Jesus; Jesus is both God and man, not one or the other and not a mixture of the two. The same heresy occurs when we deny the humanity of Scripture. If we take Christ as our precedent who was 100% man and 100% God — and I believe we should — then we should formulate Scripture in a similar way: it is divine, delivered through historical processes proper to humanity. It may be one of the sad facts of our contemporary situation that the conservative Christians are practically docetic in their understanding of both Christ and the Bible (only 100% divine) with little regard for the humanity while more liberal Christians are happy to hold to the 100% humanity of both Jesus and the Bible forgetting its divine side (heresy of Samosasta). Both are heresies and subtle denials of how God has manifested Himself to us by virtue of Scripture and the Spirit who enables us to take Scripture to heart.
You must be logged in to post a comment.