How errant is the Holy Bible? Considering it’s written by dozens of authors from dozens of different eras, some having phenomenal educations for their time period, others having little, but all being inspired by the Almighty, all of us need to keep in mind that the Bible is not the literal Word of God. It was not dictated verbatim as inerrant truth, but a record of events often written by authors totally unknown. Biblicists and Biblical inerrancy are a very recent enigma.
Prior to the turn of the 20th Century, few, if any, ever considered the Bible inerrant. Furthermore, the patriarchs whom we view as perfect weren’t perfect. Let’s just take one example: Abraham, the Father of Faith.
Here’s a patriarch who I always thought of as perfect in faith in my Sunday school days. How else could such a noble title be given him? He faltered in his faith at least twice.
When God visits Abram and changes his name to Abraham, he’s told his descendants will be as countless as the stars in the Heavens. He takes it in faith, right? Well, not exactly. He gives Sarah the news, and being well beyond her child-bearing years, she gives him her young slave, Hagar, and says take her.
Granted, she was property, and should she bear a child, the child would be the property of Sarah and Abraham, nevertheless, Hagar wasn’t Abraham’s wife. Abraham doesn’t question Sarah, “Where’s your faith? I was promised a son. You’re my wife, not Hagar.” He took Hagar without question. (Gen. 16: 1-4) Odd that with all the fuss over the sanctity of marriage being between one man and one woman, nobody bothers to bring up Abraham never questioning Sarah’s lack of faith. He takes Hagar and conceives Ishmael.
Six years later, God visits again and says the time of fulfillment is at had. Now you and Sarah will have the son of promise. Abraham falls prostrate on ground, but is laughing to himself. Failure of faith, number two. The messengers noted his disbelief and chastised him for his lack of faith (Genesis 17: 17). Abraham and Sarah are both in their 90s, nevertheless, she does conceive Isaac, the son of promise.
My point? Aside from no man being perfect except Christ, the Bible is loaded with troubling little incongruities like this. Some small and subtle, others massive. All Christians take the Bible seriously. Enlightened Christians have never taken it literally. We glean the principles and take them seriously. We take the Bible in faith and realize it has countless flaws from the authors.
It’s like trying to look through a smudged window to view God. Through the cloudiness, however, we get a good enough glimpse to know God as best we can as the Almighty Creator of Heaven and earth. We can see Him, after all is said and done, as the God of love and mercy, sending His only son to pay for our redemption. Those who take it literally seldom take the principles in it seriously, and a completely different image of God appears. A petty, vengeful, jealous, vindictive deity. How arrogantly some misrepresent God.
As fundamentalists fume over homosexuality being the greatest danger of our time, even greater than international terrorism, they miss the point. Of all the 613 laws in the Holiness Code in Leviticus, they ignore nearly everything except the two references to same-sex acts. Sodom and Gomorrah are interpreted to their blind fear of the LGBT community.
Throughout history, scapegoats have been picked to blame for anything and everything. In earlier times it was Native Americans, blacks, Asians, or women. Today it’s the Gay issue that trumps all. Bible abuse continues in these modern times. It’s said that one drowning will grab at straws to be saved from a watery grave. So too with inerrancy of the Bible to justify “those other people” being the cause of modern adversity. There always seems to be “those people” messing up everything. It’s time to begin using more than 10% of our brains and unveil Bible bigotry once and for all.