Why do we think of the Bible as the Word of God

An interesting way to phrase it. I wonder if there is anything in the cosmos that is not a self revelation of God understood in that way. Perhaps Jesus is the ultimate one from our point of view as through it we begin to see our own short comings but also what is possible. It also allows us to use our powers of empathy to understand God better since it is primarily with other humans that those come into play.


I think that is it.


Your question (I think) totally anticipates what Richard Rohr expresses in his recent book “The Universal Christ”


This is obviously nonsense, whether taken literally or not. Literally it is demonstrably incorrect – there are plenty of questions which people have which nobody would claim the Bible has any answer to. Less literally you might simply try to say that it answers the only questions which are important, but that is the same kind of nonsense we see in naturalism which simply excludes all questions that science cannot answer. That is willful ignorance plain and simple.

And other attempts to fix this will lead to worse problems, like the idea the Bible has what we need for salvation. But this is contrary to the teachings of Jesus, in both John 5:39 and Matthew 19. No the Bible does not make it possible for us to save ourselves, and thus any attempt to restrict the work of God to the Bible alone is even more inconsistent and preposterous.

It speaks to me and to many others, but it demonstrably does not speak to many people.

And this is not only because some people do not see any value in what the Bible says, but also because some people have taken the Bible as justification for the most horrendous things. So clearly God does not always speak to people in the Bible.

Some like to make this a matter of objective fact, but there is no objective way to make that claim work, because even the Bible makes it clear that the text of the Bible comes from people. So even while I believe that God wrote the Bible using events and people as His writing instruments, that is clearly a subjective perception, and there is no basis for expecting other people to agree with such a claim.

The problem I have with this is that the implication that the inspiration is confined to the Bible, when I think God’s inspiration rains down upon us in a torrent in everything we see. God is everywhere and involved in all the events of our life. As God speaks using the people who wrote the text of the Bible, God also speaks to us using other people as well.

I like the idea of authority nailed down to a written form as we have in the law – for authority in the hands of human whim is too prone to abuse. And in this case it would be an authority for the the meaning and teachings of Christianity. To this I would add that God has the proprietary rights over the Bible meaning we should not be changing it as we see fit – not if we would be honest and true to Christianity.

I don’t think that is really an implication of inspiration. Plenty of charismatic denominations that hold to standard ideas about inspiration and authority of Scripture also practice prophesy and words of knowledge which they believe is God speaking through people today. And many articulations of inspiration include the idea that the Holy Spirit actively illuminates and speaks in fresh ways through Scripture.

It is the implication of making that the meaning of calling the Bible the word of God, particularly as a way of saying what is special about the Bible compared to other books.

…while there are others who say God doesn’t speak to people any more.

Clearly I don’t think inspiration is unique to the Bible. Instead I find my way between these extremes by saying that in speaking through people today, God isn’t giving them the authority which the Bible has (not for Christianity, anyway).

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