h! It's a brand new year dear reader, and what better way to kick it off than to examine the often misunderstood subject of biblical inerrancy, and do a little heretic hunting at the same time? Let's get started! Yee-haw!
"Self-appointed orthodoxy watchdogs plague the internet almost as much as porn."
Are there sacred cows in cults, and in the heavily divided world of make-believe Christianity, like Zack asserts and belongs to himself? Sure there are. He doesn't even believe that Noah's ark housed all of the animals like Scripture says it did, so naturally, his humanist lack of true biblical faith assumes that this is an error. So naturally he's right, and Scripture is wrong, which he bases on his doubt, not faith, which is real faith according to Zack and his guru, the Apostle Paul Tillich. Yeah, I know, philosophers are ever learning, and they never come to the knowledge of truth. And so, I think it's high time to slaughter Zack's sacred cow: errancy. Let's see if what Zack claims is so, by using Scripture, not Wikipedia, and not just quotes from Paul Tillich, who's an existential philosopher, by the way. Does the Bible really say it is errant, or fallible? (No. But Zack's Bible apparently does.)
The Inerrancy & Infallibility Issue
- Is the book, that was inspired by God, and written by Hebrew and Greek speaking holy men, and then translated into many languages; is that book literally infallible, and inerrant?
- Is the LORD God, the supreme being who inspired the writing of the Bible, infallible, and inerrant? And --
- In what way does the errancy, and falliblity of man affect God's infallible, and inerrant message?
All one has to do to prove a copyist error occurred is to look at the original English copy, or a Hebrew scholar can be consulted if you really wanna be sure. Can you imagine the embarrassment of the poor guy who made that expensive, and rookie error? Well, at least I hope he was devastated by it. See how human error is possible and makes God's word appear to be errant? I say appear, because I'm sure that there were evil people who tired to use that mistake to commit adultery and justify it. But then, they would be in error for doing so, based on the truth, which is that God never said that, everyone with a reasoning brain knew that it was a human error -- a typo.
What about proper translations, that should have used better or different words, or even that they didn't translate a word consistently; this is a cornucopia of human error, or misunderstanding waiting to happen, right? So we need to understand that there is a fundamental and foundational message behind the original Hebrew and Greek words. It's message is called, the word of truth. Well looky here, Zack! I've found two verses that say as much, and one of them is even in red letters!
"Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth." John 17:17
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
God Dictated To Anointed, Yet Foreign, Men
"...languages are very good at dividing us, that was after all, God's design and purpose for them at the tower of Babel. And translating them can also be rather divisive, and even errant at times."
So, until I can get my hands on Moses' original copy, and I learn how to read it, I'm just going to have to trust the Lord that he watches over his word, and he made sure we have the best possible translations available to us, as humanly possible. But let's continue, and examine Zack's claim of who started the "lie" that the Bible is infallible. He claims it happened with the early church fathers. So that is only what? -- maybe 40 or 50 years after the Apostle John died? Oh no, wait....he said it's a 20th century invention! Ha ha ha ha! Hey, Zack, the Old Testament books have been around for thousands of years, and the New Testament gospels and epistles that claimed inerrancy had been in circulation for decades, two thousand years ago! Would that constitute as being "recently" according to Zack? Well, it's definitely not a 20th century doctrine since inerrancy was established by God's own word, before it was even compiled into the book we know today. Heck, there's even a 240 page book written by John D. Woodbridge refuting the 1978 hack job of Rogers and McKim, who espoused errancy. I think I'm going to order his book: Biblical Authority:A Critique of the Rogers/McKim Proposal.
Concerning Translation Issues
Before that perilous time, poor darkened souls relied on spiritually dead Catholic monks, who wrote and read in a dead language, to give them Scripture, talk about errant! Even so, God always keeps a faithful remnant, and God's word was not completely lost in the dark ages, there were those brave souls who provided safe harbor for their stash of manuscripts. As great as central libraries are, I wonder how many original and rare books were lost due to fire, or some other natural disaster, like the torch, or flaming arrow. How much better to have many maticulous copies scattered here and there. God's wisdom abounds, does it not?
Riding On The Train of God's Robe
Dear reader, riding on the train of God's robe may work for a while, but that in no way excuses the practice. God's word of truth is always at war with man's "truth," like the brand of neoplatonic gobbledygook of Zack's hero: Paul Tillich. At the very heart of idolatry is rebellion against God's word. We see this rebellion played out in Genesis 3, where the foundation of false religions came into being through Satan's lie. These false religions claim to be merely a way to eternal reward, and in all of the vain human philosophies of the Greeks, that try to explain how our existence came about, without God. Or the syncretism that Zack apparently subscribes to. I think he may be confusing God's word with the Pope's word.
God's Message In His Word Is True!
"Human hypocrisy and sin don't make the truth null and void, rather the hypocrite and sinner are given a black eye by the truth, while the wicked use the hypocrite's actions as a flimflam reason to reject the truth entirely."
The Witness of Deuteronomy 30 & 31 Is True
For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, "Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?" Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, "Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?" But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.
Moses wrote this law and delivered it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who bore the ark of the covenant of The LORD, and to all the elders of Israel. And Moses commanded them, saying:"At the end of every seven years, at the appointed time in the year of release, at the Feast of Tabernacles, when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD you God in the place which He chooses, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing.
Now therefore, write down this song for yourselves, and teach it to the children of Israel; put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for Me against the children of Israel. When I have brought them to the land flowing with milk and honey, of which I swore to their fathers, and they have eaten and filled themselves and grown fat, then they will turn to other gods and serve them; and they will provoke Me and break My covenant. Then it shall be, when many evils and troubles have come upon them, that this song will testify against them as a witness; for it will not be forgotten in the mouths of their descendants, for I know the inclination of their behavior today, even before I have brought them to the land of which I swore to give them." Deut. 31:19-21
"The basic word for truth in the Old Testament is emeth. A kindred word is emunah. Both are derived from the verb aman, which in its simple stem means to be steady, to be firm, and in its derived stems, to make firm, to last, to sustain, to support. The root meaning of both emeth and emunah, therefore, is firmness, trustworthiness, faithfulness. But there is a difference between the two nouns. In addition to the root idea of faithfulness, emunah assumed the connotation of faith or trust. Emeth on the other hand, acquired the force of that which is opposed to falsity and falsehood. Its characteristic meanings in the Old Testament are truth and truth-telling. Luther, in translating the Old Testament into German, distinguished carefully between those occurrences of emeth, which require the rendering "fidelity"or "faithfulness" (Treue) and those which require "truth" (Wahrheit). Had our English authorized and standard versions been as discriminating as Luther's, we should have sensed more clearly the real force of the prophetic idea of the faithfulness which is truth." (emphasis mine)
A while back, I learned that the ancient or Paleo Hebrew language, or pre-Babylonian exile Hebrew, tends to be more concrete in that its concepts are not as abstract like Greek is. For example, a Paleo Hebrew would not have said, "Wow, is it a beautiful day!" since that is abstract or subjective. He would have said, "The sun is hot on my face!" which is far more specific, or objective. Do you see how languages are difficult to translate?
When professor Ramsdell stated that the verb aman is the simple stem that the words emeth and emunah are derived from, I remembered what I learned about the letters of Paleo Hebrew, that Moses would have used, are hieroglyphic. They represent things, like the first letter in aman is aleph, which is drawn as an ox. It means strength. The letter mem is drawn with a wavy line, meaning water, or blood. The letter nun is drawn as a sprouting seed. The strength of an ox is steadfast. Water and blood can be used in sacrifices that seal a covenant, and they sustain life. And seed, when put in the ground yields a crop, which not only sustains life, but you also get the surety that what you sow, you will reap. This is also where we get the word "amen," and it means: so be it, or what you said is so. Edward T. Ramsdell confirms in the below quote once more, that faithfulness is the same as truthfulness.
"Though the prophets of ancient Israel had no philosophical doctrine of truth, they were very certian about its essential meaning. Its root idea was faithfulness. On the other hand, they could speak truth as the faithfulness of God; on the other, man's telling of truth was the faithfulness of man. Truth, therefore, meant the character of the world in which they lived and the quality of dependable statement." ibid. (emphasis mine)
A Matter of Faith
Like it or not, the measuring stick for all truth is God's word. Everything in his word is the truth, Jesus said so, in red letters, remember? If you don't believe that, then you are making him a liar. No lie is of the truth, and Jesus is the way the truth and the life. God made the world and all that is in it, we can believe it or not. If we believe it, then as the maker of this world, and owner of ever soul, God sets the rules by which everything is governed, and his rules state that his word, all of it, is the truth. According to the Bible, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Which means it is a more sure word than Zack's, since he wasn't chosen to write Scripture, and he's not even saved to be perfectly honest. He thinks he is, but he isn't. Faith also comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, which is the word of truth. Even so, people like Zack can hear the word, but not mix it with biblical faith, or a real saving faith, just like the stiff-necked, hard hearted, hypocritical Children of Israel refused to do. They didn't enter into God's rest, and neither will Zack, if he doesn't change his tune before he dies.
That is how he can read accounts of miracles in Scripture and interpret them as being akin to Santa Clause, or the Tooth Fairy. Which, I'm sure is what his mommy did, told him that they were real, hence his inability to believe in real miracles, or even the real Jesus of the Bible. His Jesus is an American, not a Hebrew. And so, to the dismay of all heretics out there, like Zack, rightly dividing the word of truth gives me, and other heretic hunters a valid hunting license. Not that I want to mount any one on my wall, I do it for the public service of tagging heretics, well okay, I must admit I like the sport too! I don't fear heretics, with or without credentials, or their heresies, and I don't fear being called one myself, by other heretics, it's going to happen when you share your faith. But I do fear for them, and their followers who turn their long noses up against sound doctrine. There is a very deep, and a very dark, and a very hot ditch they are blindly headed for, if they don't snap out of it, they will fall into it.