Innerrancy - an open request for help

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Matt Black, Oct 8, 2003.

  1. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    In Ed Edwards' poll in the Bible forum on this topic, I voted for the Bible being innerrant in matters of doctrine, my position for a number of years having been essentially in line with the UK Evangelical Alliance's statement that "Scripture is inspired by God and is entirely trustworthy and the supreme authority in matters of doctrine and practice". Earlier in my 'Christian career', I had taken a more literalist, YECist slant, in keeping with the fundamentalist Pentecostal church I had attended.

    Recently, I have become more and more aware that one of the more significant ways that God communicates with us directly is through the reading of and meditating on His Word; of course, I have always known this in theory but it has become more of reality in recent months. It is important therefore and incumbent upon me to take His Word seriously, and I am wondering to what extent my current 'attitude' to the Bible is preventing this and acting as a fetter to the LORD. So, in brief, I would like to return to a more inerrantist position on Scripture, but find myself hampered by the concerns which caused me to depart from that position in the first place, and I would appreciate your help in 'dealing' with them. They mainly concern apparent contradictions in Scripture, and I set out most of them below:-

    1. The evidence (geological, paleontological, etc) goes against a literalist interpretation of the Genesis Creation account. Please note, I don't want this to spark yet another dead horse of creation vs evolution; I'm just saying that I could accept the creation account as being literal as a matter of faith if there was no evidence at all one way or the other, or at least a heck of a lot more easily if there wasn't so much evidence against it.

    2. In any event, there is a contradiction between the Gen 1 and Gen 2 accounts: in Gen 1 Man is created last and in 2 first.

    3. Contradiction between Gen 6:19 and Gen 7:2-3 - did Noah take 2 or 7 of each animal into the Ark?

    4. Lev 11:6 - rabbits don't chew the cud

    5. 2 Sam 24:1 vs 1 Chron 21:1 - was it God or Satan who inspired David's census?

    6. 1 Sam 17 vs 1 Chron 20:5 - did David or Elhanan slay Goliath?

    7. Matt 1 vs Luke 3 - different genealogies - and, no, one isn't Jesus' ancestry through Mary and the other through Joseph - both say through Joseph.

    8. The various accounts of Peter's denials in the Gospels, are all over the place in terms of how many times the rooster crew,how many denials were before/ between each crowing etc

    There are a few others as well, but these represent my main 'problems' with inerrancy.

    Any solutions?

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  2. Paul of Eugene

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    I am coming from exactly the same place you have been; I accept the Bible by faith as my inerrant guide for doctrine and practice, but accept that there are such minor things as you have mentioned that do not rise to factual inerrancy.

    The problem with demanding factual inerrancy as oppossed to doctrinal inerrancy is that with our scriptures as we have them it forces us into strange, creative reinterpretations in order to maintain the inerrancy. It also puts us in the strange situation of claiming the blessing of having an inerrant bible yet nobody actually has that inerrant bible in their possession, because the inerrancy is pushed back to the original manuscripts, not the copies. And we don't have the original manuscripts.

    Sure, I can blythly say that the Bible is inerrant when properly interpreted. But that means, in practice, I reserve the right to reinterpret the Bible when I know its wrong.

    The difference between your honest struggle with this issue and those who play hardball demanding we conform to the Bible because its always inerrant is they are forced to reinterpret the Bible when they know its wrong anyway and they refuse to face the fact they are doing that. This utter denial leaves them vulnerable to manipulation by pharasee wannabees. It teaches as acceptable, modes of thought that, if followed in the real world, can lead to disasters. For example, when a white house administration interprets intelligence information gathered from various sources, coloring it according to party line might cause one to believe a country is developing weapons of mass destruction when they are not. (That's a hypothetical example, of course)

    My advice is, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

    In other words, use the Bible, use your mind, use the guidance of your believing community, pray for and accept guidance from God, use it ALL . . . and accept that you will still make mistakes. It is the human condition.
     
  3. npetreley

    npetreley
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    You guys should really come up with some new material.
     
  4. Daniel Dunivan

    Daniel Dunivan
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    Matt,

    I don't believe in biblical inerrancy, but I do take the bible seriously. We can't give up either to the inapplicablity of the Bible nor to pre-modern understandings of the world and reality. What we are left with is a task much larger, and I think more lively, than either can offer. Are you familar with Ricoeur's hermenuetics of moving from the first naviete through a "hermenuetic of suspicion" to a second naviete that provides wonder and awe much like the first; however, the second is matured and more applicable than the first. I really like his statement, "The idols must die--so that symbols may live."

    Grace and Peace, Danny ;)
     
  5. Gunther

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    1. That depends on your source of information and who you choose to believe. Did Jesus take a literal approach in dealing with the creation account?

    2. Gen 1 is general with Gen 2 being specific. No contradiction.

    3. Noah took 2 of each animal. There were "certain" animals that he took 7 of.

    4. You might want to double check this. I had heard otherwise.

    5. This one is really easy. Think of it like this:

    A CEO tells his vice president to get something done. The vice president tells someone else to do the same thing.

    Could I not say that the CEO said to do it and at the same time say that the vice president said to do it?

    Satan is but a pawn.

    6. I will have to look this one up.

    7. Matthew and Luke demonstrate the Legal and physical right to the throne.

    8. Will have to look into this one also.
     
  6. Gunther

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    I would also like to say that you cannot take the Bible seriously if you don't believe in inerrancy. If Scripture isn't perfect, it is worthless.

    One's view of Scripture directly corresponds to one's view of God.
     
  7. russell55

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    I'm going to try to answer a couple of your questions--the ones that particularly interest me.

    Okay, so I'm a six day creationist. I do take the creation account literally. But it's not necessary to take it literally in order to be an inerrentist. If you look at the account of creation and say, "Hey, this has poetic elements (which it does), so I believe that God breathed the truth about His creation of the world and everything in it in poetic form," then you may well still be an inerrentist.

    Inerrant does not mean every single thing has to be taken in a woodenly literal fashion.
    It was both. God incited David through the agency of Satan. Satan can only do what God allows him to. It was part of God's plan for David to take the census, and He worked that plan by allowing Satan the freedom to do what was he was wanting to do all along. There are examples of this sort of thing all over scripture.
     
  8. Daniel Dunivan

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    The only way that your statement could be true is if you a priori disallow that take seriously=take as inerrant. The word "seriously" certainly allows for a wider meaning than that you supose.

    I would agree that one's view of scripture corresponds to one's view of God, but probably not to the extent you believe. And the implications of this statement probably will take you down a theological road you don't want to travel.

    Grace and Peace, Danny ;)
     
  9. Daniel Dunivan

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    Matt,

    During our discussion on history and successionism in the History forum, I made the argument that successionism is based on a theological presupposition, not historical fact. I have at other times used the same argument for the inerrancy of scripture. It is a theological presupposition and cannot ever be proven--and it is just as hard to disprove as successionism, because the presupposition provides a slick coating to the entire enterprise. Our dealings with the Bible, as with history, will by necessity have a presupposition, but one that openly acknowledges this fact and conforms to the evidence best is the only one that can properly call itself "most probable"--Ockham's razor.

    Grace and Peace, Danny [​IMG]
     
  10. npetreley

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    The problem is that the word does not necessarily refer to a rabbit at all, and at this point there's no way of knowing for certain what animal is referred to here. The word only appears twice in the Old Testament, and in one place (Deut) it appears side-by-side with a word translated "coney", which can also be thought of as a rabbit (some people think this refers to a rock-badger).

    Anyway, I've seen all of these so-called "errors" and "contradictions" a gazillion times, and I've seen them debunked even by amateur Bible students, so I'm surprised someone is trying to pose them as problems for inerrency. That's why I said what I did about getting some new material - this is old stuff.
     
  11. Nomad

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    To address point #6, the only two Bible versions I have with me at the moment (ESV & NIV) both say that Elhanan killed the brother of Goliath, not Goliath himself. If this is accurate, there is no contradiction.
     
  12. Paul of Eugene

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    Nomad, you will note that the words "brother of" are italicized, in your bible, which is an editorial convention meaning they are not in the original text, but are provided as helping thoughts by the translators. The Hebrew Text then leaves Elhanan killing Goliath directly, not Goliath's brother.
     
  13. aefting

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    The description of the vegetation in Genesis 2 is different from the description in Genesis 1. My understanding is that "bush of the field" (2:5 ESV) refers to weeds/thorns/thistles that would not have been a part of creation until after the fall, and "small plant of the field" (2:5 ESV) refers to a type of plant that requires both rain and human cultivation, two things that 2:5 specificallys say were needed but not yet present.

    The other issue in chapter 2 is the reading of verse 19 that makes it look as if God created man and then the animals. However, it is possible to translate the Hebrew as "had formed" rather than "formed." The other possibility is that God created more animals after He placed Adam in the garden. Personally, I opt for the "had formed" option.

    Andy
     
  14. Matt Black

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    Sorry, erratum - #6 should refer to II Sam 21:19 rather than the I Chron passage, which I agree has 'brother of' in some MSS; the II Sam passage however is unequivocally Goliath. At least one of these three passages is inaccurate.

    Re Lev 11:6 - I accept that the Hebrew word can mean the Hyrax or rock badger; not sure whether this chews the cud though - can anyone help? I think from memory that a better tack to adopt is to look at the Hebrew phrase translated 'chew the cud'; I seem to remember coming across something clever in the C/E forum about this.

    Npetreley, I don't know whether your initial salvo on this thread was directed against both Galatian and I, but let me assure you I am deadly serious about all of this; I am not trolling or trying to provoke a flame war. If all of my problems have been, as you say, debunked by 'amateurs', let's hear your debunking.

    Gunther, not sure about your explanation of #7 - would like to accept this, but unfortunately neither Matthew nor Luke draw this distinction.

    Keep trying,guys! Don't forget, I'm a lawyer, and the one thing we lawyers want, nay need, is EVIDENCE (this is particularly pertinent to the creation stuff)

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  15. Ed Edwards

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    Matt Black: " ... let me assure you I am deadly serious
    about all of this; I am not trolling or trying
    to provoke a flame war. "

    I so construed.
    I'm not ignoring you, but meditating
    upon your concerns.
    You are NOT the only one with
    these concerns
    My poll on the meaning of inerrancy:
    http://www.baptistboard.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=4;t=001037
    shows quite a divergance in what "inerrancy" means.

    We need to get a grip on what "inerrancy" really
    means.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. npetreley

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    Your list of errors and contradictions in the Bible is as old as dirt. Do a google search on "errors contradictions bible" and you'll find sites that insist they are problematic, and other sites that answer the objections.

    In my experience, what lawyers need is knowledge of where the money is and what arguments and evidence will be necessary to get a piece of it. Whether or not the evidence points to "the whole truth" matters far less than whether the evidence will get the lawyer the desired results. In the case of Biblical errors and contradictions, I think I know what results you desire, which is why I'm not motivated to do your legwork for you in the google search above.
     
  17. Nomad

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    Nomad, you will note that the words "brother of" are italicized, in your bible, which is an editorial convention meaning they are not in the original text, but are provided as helping thoughts by the translators. The Hebrew Text then leaves Elhanan killing Goliath directly, not Goliath's brother. </font>[/QUOTE]To be honest, I wrote my original post before doing any research. Actually, the words "Lahmi, brother of" (Goliath) are part of the Hebrew text of 1 Chronicles 20:5. They are not italicized in any translation I checked. The same words are missing in 2 Samuel 21:19. Whether this is due to a copyist error in 2 Samuel or an editorial addition by the Chronicler, is the matter for dispute (I lean toward the former).
     
  18. npetreley

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    From the NIV:

    It's pretty obvious that it's a scribal error, especially considering the difference in the Septuagint.
     
  19. Ed Edwards

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    4. Interesting about those Rabbits.
    Even an inerrant Bible talks about
    rabbits, which do no chew their cud.

    Back in 1986 the bulliten board i was in then
    had a running "in" joke about "rabbit nibbler".
    A "rabbit nibbler" is one who eats rabbit which
    hiding, just in case it really is the rabbit
    that is not kosher, and not some other animal.
    A "rabbit nibbler" is one sure on the outside,
    not so sure on the inside.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Mark Osgatharp

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    The text says:

    "And the LORD spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them, speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth. Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat. Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you."

    There is no way to separate between the "theological accuracy" and the "scientific accuracy" of this passage. The text states that the Lord spoke to Moses and said, among other things, that hares chew the cud.

    If you assert that this statment is scientfically inaccurate then you must either:

    a. Assert that the Lord made a mistake or....

    b. The writer of Leviticus lied when he said that the Lord spoke these words to Moses.

    Either way, you are in deep theological trouble.

    The man who presumes to prove this is an inaccuracy must claim absolute knowledge of all animals that were called by whatever Hebrew word was translated "hare" in the King James Bible. Obviously, no man posesses such knowledge and, therefore, cannot possible prove that this statement is an error.

    Mark Osgatharp
     

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