Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Inspired Men

When I raised the question of why God would inspire a Word He doesn't then inspire us to understand, I got a rather interesting reply: 

God inspired men in the time of Jesus and shortly after to understand it, but He no longer inspires us to do the same. 

Thus, we are supposed to rely on those who lived around Jesus's age to tell us not only who Jesus was, but what Jesus means. 

This raises more questions than it answers. 

First, if it was only around the time of Jesus that men were inspired to understand the Scriptures, then that leaves the entire Old Testament un-understood for much of its history. It meant absolutely nothing to anyone. And the truth is, Israel could not possibly have been anticipating a Messiah at all if they never understood the Scriptures promising Him. So anything that we've ever said about God working His story toward Jesus would be a lie because HIs people could not have known that. 

But second, and most importantly, it doesn't get us around the question that we're asking. At all. 

This argument starts with the idea that the Bible is just a bunch of human works put together. Divinely inspired, maybe, but written by human hands. And then given into human hands to translate for us, since we are not divinely inspired. 

The obvious question, then, is: why would God inspire us to understand the humans who interpreted the Scriptures instead of just inspiring us to interpret the Scriptures ourselves? Why the extra step? This, again, takes us to a God who wants to create a measure of distance between us and Him, and that's simply not the God of the Bible. 

And it would require some inspiration for us to understand even the interpreters. Just look at the way that we can read a single news article today and each of us walk away with a different idea about what happened or why. We can't even agree on the things that we see with our own eyes. So we're supposed to just say that these guys have it right? What is right, anyway?

We run into the same problems of human interpretation when we're interpreting divinely-inspired interpreters as we do when we're interpreting divinely-inspired writers. The only thing it really does is to create a buffer for us where we can claim that we're no good at human history, rather than being no good at divine history. Where we can say we struggle to understand ourselves, not that we struggle to understand God. When we make an error, it is because we suck at human interpretation, not because we're not good at God's things. 

Do you see what we're doing? We're just passing the buck. 

Except that's not what the guy who makes this argument is actually saying. What he's actually saying is that our failure to even understand what the human interpreters have left us, the divinely-inspired human interpreters, means that we have absolutely no business trying to say anything at all about the Scriptures. If we don't understand what's been plainly given to us, how can we ever understand God's mysterious Word?

Again, it's a way to get you to shut up and sit down so that some "expert" can step in and tell you what it means, all while claiming that he doesn't really know either but that he only understands what someone else has said (so that he doesn't have to take responsibility for his interpretations, either). 

It's bunk. Pure bunk. And simply does not accurately reflect the heart, or the Word, of God. 

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