not really being asked to trust God, but asked to trust the human authors
of the Bible."
human authors can't be trusted, therefore the Bible can't be trusted', or
so it might be reasoned. Sounds like logic at first, but consider if, out
of similar distrust, I deleted the next five emails authored by a co-worker
who "claims" to be writing at the direction of the boss. I might end up
coming to you looking for a job. It is indeed an important question: Just
who are we trusting, and how do we trust them?
think about this: what do we not trust human authors to do? To always
tell the truth. I'm okay with that.
is it possible that everything a person authors is false? No, because
that can be demonstrated. It is possible for a person to author something
that is true. Therefore it is possible for a human writing to be trustworthy.
if a person truthfully authored that which God instructed and enabled them
to author (inspire
in the biblical sense), then God's intended words and the author's resulting
words would be the same. In a sense, trusting one is trusting the other;
distrusting one is distrusting the other.
an illustration, let's say one of those work emails I trashed claimed to
be "The Ten Tasks" I'm always to be doing. Knowing the author
is only human like myself, I can reason that he or she likely failed to
perfectly quote the CEO and inaccurately conveyed the boss's words. Who
knows if those really were the CEO's words, or even if there is a CEO. Then
one day the CEO introduces herself to me and inquires about how I'm doing
on those tasks. I respond, "Is there anything I should be doing?"
By responding that way, what have I just done?
just confessed that I'm either: 1) not doing anything, or 2) that I don't
know or aren't sure of what I'm doing, or 3) that I didn't believe her when
she said to do it, or 4) that I didn't believe she had really commissioned
those Ten Tasks.
you non-business people out there, none of these are going to be good for
my future. Nor will it alleviate my guilt to start challenging the legitimacy
of the CEO's position or qualifications, or start bashing the email's author
- her confidant and friend.
boss is email savvy. She knows that I opened the email which she empowered
someone to write. This boss knows what they wrote, and saw to it that everyone
got the word one way or another. When I distrusted the email, I effectively
distrusted the boss. Whether or not the email was sufficiently convincing
by my personal standards doesn't matter - only doing what it said is what
counts. You can
guess how happily this illustration ends in the business world, and I assure
you that, too, is how it ends in the spiritual world.
to all this you reasonably respond, "Maybe trusting the human authors
under a certain condition is the same as trusting God, but how do I know
if a given writing is actually coming from the Big Boss?" Excellent
question, and equally answerable. In short, it will exhibit qualities that
are summarily labeled inspired.
from whom writing claims to have come, you might ask an equally important
question: "Is whatever I'm being told true?" For if it isn't, it
isn't from the God of the Bible, nor does it matter what human author you're
being asked to trust. Concerning the Bible's truthfulness, the Veracity
sections have many questions that may be of interest to you.
What is inspiration?
What is truth?
Isn't one interpretation
just as good as the next?