It’s LIVING and BREATHING they shriek at me, either out loud or in their minds (I’ve had both kinds of responses; the first is your classic “You idiot! It’s living and breathing…see? If it goes into cardiac arrest you could give it CPR, it’s living and breathing so literally!”; and the second is more like turning a shade of green, vomiting in their mouths, and googling “need an exorcist”).
But again…there goes the metaphorical language that makes the Bible so interesting. Wave goodby to it as it spirals down the fundamentalist black hole that is their flawed metaphysics. Flushed away, and simmered down to a steaming pile of rigid fundamentalist dogma. Unbending, unmoving, smashing the backs of all who would come to it; devoid of any poetic or artistic color. A stark, cold users’ manual for human failure.
It’s ALL God, you see. Well, of course, it would have to be, now wouldn’t it? If the Bible is inerrant, humans are screwed before they even pull it out of the pew in front of them. As a human, you…well, you can’t possibly amount to anything, or add anything or any worth to the Bible. It is perfect precisely because it can have nothing to do with you. Which…makes no sense seeings as how if it wasn’t for man the Bible wouldn’t exist, as I’ve often said. Hard to argue that something is as perfect as God because of man. But it is equally as hard to argue that something which would not exist without man is as perfect as God. So…it’s a paradox. I know. Everything always boils down to paradox (i.e. contradiction) with the neo-Reformed “genius”. And, frankly, I’m almost tempted to say the western church in general thinks this way, for even hard core anti-Calvinists I know still ultimately appeal to paradox when they actually engage you long enough to get pushed into that corner. Engage them on “election” or “predestination”, or even THIS topic, Biblical inerrancy, and I’m telling you that ten times out of ten you the most they will ever concede is: “Look, it’s just true because it’s in the Bible. No one can possibly know how it works. It’s just God being God, [shrug]. It’s His “mystery. For who are we to understand the greatness of His plans, and the enigma of His mind, and blah, blah, blah”. Gee, for possibly the greatest philosophical tradition in the history of the world (Judea-Christian) to simply concede impossible contradiction as the root of their faith for the last two thousand years and still exist as a force in the world to be reckoned with? Wow. THAT’S why I believe in the Jewish God. God would HAVE to be involved with such a crowd of bleary-eyed passive thinkers for them to continue to function as a religious movement; even one as fractured as it is.
Well, I suppose it is a great way to never lose a debate:
“I don’t base my beliefs on what can be true, according to any rational understanding of the world and universe around me. I base my faith on the opposite of reason. On ideas which are shimmering paragons of mutual exclusivity.”
“Er…oh well, then. That’s game. You…win?”
I would submit to you that if there is anything “living and breathing” about the Bible going on that that reference is to its application to HUMAN lives, which are quite literally living and breathing. That is, the life and breath of God is found in the bodies and the minds of those human beings who are in the process of applying His truth to their lives. The Bible lives and breaths through them, as they walk it out in their individual lives and in their individual contexts. The Bible on the bookshelf has no life at all. It is like any other book: collecting dust and turning a bad-mayonnaise shade of yellow inside and reeking of grandma’s closet. The Bible, apart from MAN is merely a lifeless THING. But it is the application of God’s revelations by mankind that makes the metaphor “living” and “breathing” applicable. Apart from man, it is as pointless as any other book that has no reader. Any book that can be “perfect truth” apart from the human reality, and apart from living and breathing human beings to read it, understanding it, and integrate it is a book that cannot possibly be written. In other words, a Bible that is inerrant is a Bible that cannot exist because it could not have been written by God, nor written by man. Even if it was written by God for man. It still is NOT inerrant, because man is the functional TRUTH behind the Bible, not God (remember, God’s truth does not need the Bible, man’s does). MAN’S context is the context of the Bible, and if that is true, then it cannot possible be inerrant, because it must conform to man’s life and environment. And a thing that IS perfection–remember, inerrant, infallible is an IS; it cannot change because change is antithetical to inerrancy–cannot possibly conform, as the primary purpose of its existence, to the context of the errant. And again and furthermore, inerrancy is an abstraction. A literal thing cannot be abstract.
Once more, gaze upon the shackled and ugly specter of neo-Reformed “paradox”.
Now, the other way Christians either consciously or unconsciously bulwark and propagandize their false idea of biblical infallibility is to CONSTANTLY, INCESSANTLY, NAUSEATINGLY, and INCORRECTLY referring to the Bible as God’s Word…capital “w” Word.
Well, that pretty much settles that now, huh? If it’s God’s Word, well, then it IS God, because…what do you think the capital “w” Word refers to? You read the beginning of John’s Gospel? Do you realize that God cannot be defined by abstract ideas like “language”, “work”, “love”, etc….that there an be NO functional separation between what God does–that is, how He moves–and His utter and complete self? God is ALL in ALL, He is I AM, and therefore ALL He does (including saying, working, loving, hating, etc.) IS God.
So then, what can the neo-Reformed mysticism possibly mean by referring to the Bible as God’s Word? What is the underlying and could-not-be-more-obvious point behind that little grammatical wonder? Yeah…the Bible IS God, Himself.
And…well, okay, point taken. Can’t get much more infallible than that, by definition.
Of course, as with so many other neo-Reformed absolute “truths”, that description is nowhere found in the normal little old fallible Bible that the rest of us on planet Earth have. Even Moses doesn’t put a capital “w” when referring to God’s words that he heard God speak. You know, like the actual, audible words of God that Moses heard on the Mount when he spent the more than two months directly in His presence. Those words…only garner a small “w”. Yeah, even God’s words, literally heard by human ears, apparently aren’t as infallible as the Bible, which is a whole lot of other dudes’ words. Ooops…sorry, Words.
Part of me says that the apostles might have a problem with being told their letters to those ragtag bands of confused churches who have trouble finding “sound doctrine” while in the presence of real apostles (as opposed to the fake neo-Cal ones, like the Sovereign Grace Ministries hucksters) are actually THE Holy Spirit.
Yeah…something tells me there might be a forehead smack or two upon hearing that one.
But, whatever. As with every other reformed “truth” the means, no matter how false or destructive, always justify the ends. And the ends are usually found just over the pile of dead bodies and lost innocence. But then, something has to give if the real truth of “inerrancy” of scripture (read, interpretive opinion) is to be found. Death must always be the means to the truth in this case. The greatest proof that God is perfect, it seems, is to sacrifice the imperfect to His “truth”. For if man actually succeeds in attaining and effectively applying “truth”, then how perfect can this truth really be? So, since humans are NOT perfect, at the end of the day there is only ever going to be a perpetual war between them and what IS. And of course, by definition, humans MUST lose. And that is precisely why it is just fine with so many neo-Reformed “leaders” and followers if men and women and children are abused and destroyed in service to “sound doctrine”. Their destruction is just more proof that they are NOT good and God is; that they are NOT inerrant and the Bible is. Indeed, and again, to their minds, the greatest proof of God’s perfection is an endless sea of corpses.