Monday, November 21, 2022

Divine Inspiration

Recently, I saw a comment (okay, it was on Twitter) to the effect that "you should absolutely believe that God inspired the Word" but "your interpretation of it? Not so much." In other words, God wrote the Bible through divine inspiration, but anything you think you understand about it is limited and finite because you are an ignorant human being with no special ability to actually know what God was trying to say. 

As you can imagine, I have so many issues with this. 

Where do we even start?

First and most importantly, this establishes that there is a God who is sovereign over all, divine, inspired, and full of the kinds of things that He would put in His Word but that also, He doesn't want you to know Him. He hasn't given you what you need to understand Him. He has created a distance between you and Him because He has made you too limited and finite, too ignorant, to understand Him. 

This seems hard to believe, given that we have a God who walked in the garden in the cool of the day with Adam and Eve. A God who crossed heaven and earth to dwell among us as Immanuel. A God who spends His entire story trying to get back to us. 

A God who wants intimacy, whose entire story is told in intimacy, cannot also be a God who gives you purposely a Word that you will never understand. That's ridiculous. 

Second, this is set up to create a theological authority. The person who said this then comes along behind it and starts filling in all of this complicated Bible-related language and essentially can say anything he wants and tell you to believe it because *he* has the educational background, experience, etc. to understand the Word of God in a way that you never can. 

This is how Scripture gets twisted. This is how pastors abuse their authority. This is how they convince you that they are special, that they are better than you, that God loves them more, that they are endowed with special divine ability. They tell you that you can't understand God, then offer to interpret for you - and once they've convinced you that you need that service, they can say anything they want.

Third, this puts a massive emphasis on human understanding. If God has inspired His Word, but you are too dumb to understand it, then you need other humans to understand it for you. Thus, these guys always end up appealing to either figures in church history or academics in ivory towers. 

Do you see the fallacy here? If human interpretation is untrustworthy, why are history and academia - both written and practiced by human beings - any more trustworthy than anything you might understand on your own?

A bizarre deconstruction starts to happen here, usually. And the person who posted this tweet demonstrated it quite well - he went on to talk about how the Bible is a book written by a certain number of humans over a certain number of years in a certain number of places and languages, breaking down all of the content of the Bible in human terms. Then explaining that certain humans - educated humans throughout history (academics, ancient theologians) - are the ones best suited to explain this human book to you by nature of everything they have studied and understood about human history, the kind of human history in this very book. 

So we've gone from a divinely-inspired word humans cannot possibly understand to a very human work that only certain educated humans are qualified to explain to you and...wait. Where did divine inspiration go? Where did God go? 

We went from a God who is so foreign you can't possibly understand Him to a God you no longer even need because what was once divinely inspired is so thoroughly human that we could spend our lives getting lost in its languages and locations. 

Like I said, there is so much here that I take issue with. So much that is just so wrong about a statement like this. 

So much to talk about! 

No comments:

Post a Comment