May 4, 2006

Faith in God Trumps Bible

Posted in church, religion, scripture, theology at 7:12 am by Jerry

I've been part of an online discussion called "resonate" that I joined awhile ago. Up until recently, I never offered a contribution. Becky has been a part of this group for some time. While she was camping with the Girl Guides I found a thread that caught my eye, and I decided to make my presence known. The topic started off as a question about the discrepancy between the portrayal of God in the Old Testament versus the portrayal of God in the New Testament. It wasn't long before the discussion focused on biblical genocide and inerrancy.

Becky has revealed on her blog comments she had thrown into the mix, and I thought I'd show you the latest of mine:

Here are some questions that have been floating around in my mind:
1) Should we consider our faith in God no different than the faith we put in the bible?
2) what does it mean to have faith in the bible?
3) does it mean to have faith that God uses the bible to enlighten others?
4) or is it having faith in the human authors?
5) or is it having faith that God IS the author of the bible?

Subsequent Thoughts About My Questions:
I don't think Q'n #3 assumes the bible is of the same value as other tools God uses to enlighten humanity because it's probably the closest to an original, immanent photograph of Jesus. Q'n #4 is obviously not the same as having faith in God. But Q'n #5 needs greater elaboration. What does it mean for God to be the "author" of the bible? It doesn't mean there are no human agents. And it doesn't mean that the human agents' wills were overridden by God. God is said to have "inspired" the human authors. What does that mean? A simplistic answer would be that God didn't tell them what to write, rather, God showed them a portrait of true reality that, naturally, inspired them to write.

As a result of my explorations, I still remain to see a dichotomy of faith between the bible and God. And obviously, my faith in God trumps my faith in the bible, hands down. I think this is why I have peace over the issue of the biblical's portrayal of God giving direct orders to human beings to commit genocide.

As a result of my faith in God, my immediate concern is not the innerrancy of the bible, but rather how we use it to justify immoral acts by others and ourselves.

Note: if I had recent scholarly texts to quote and acknowledge in place of my own opinions, I would refrain because I want you to know what I think, not others. Therefore, this reverie is unabashedly subjective.


  1. CB said,

    I think you make a good point. Many times, the fear of adressing shortcomings that may or may not be in the scriptures is a result of the impact we think they might have on the potential faith of others, rather than our own. Ultimately, those who confess faith in God do so out of the existential reality of God in their lives. However, showing that existential experience in the sense of rational belief to someone else is an entirely different venture, and likely where difficulties with what we see as God’s Word come into play. But I think if we simply look at faith in God historically, particularly in the Christian scheme, we can have a more proper understanding of how the Bible can function in the existential aspect of our faith. For example, the earliest Christians had no New Testament, but either witnessed the ministry of Christ or knew someone who did. After this ‘first generation,’ the primary means of communicating what God did through Jesus was oral. Yet, we would never rightly challenge the validity of the early Christians’ belief. Ultimately, the existential knowledge of God will rightly ‘trump’ the documentary evidence, especially in the case of the sustained faith of one who already believes.

  2. Shuana said,

    I was just reading your “about me” section, and laughed because I am an INTP as well, who isn’t sure about the “T” part because sometimes I can be pretty “F”. I’m also a literature lover-doing a BA in English and I will have a BEd conferred upon me in June. I’m married to an INTJ who isn’t sure about the “I”. I did a Bach of Religious Ed degree when I left high school many years ago. Well, I just had to say “hey” because it isn’t often I find people like me in this world. I guess we are about 2% of the population! I’ll be spending some time reading your blog because the topics look pretty interesting. My blog is just a family correspondence blog, but eventually, when I’m not so busy finding a job, I’ll be writing about more literary topics. I’m glad you found your soul mate–that is important to us intuitive types! 🙂

  3. Shuana said,

    Oops, my link didn’t work.

  4. Jerry said,

    Shuana, I’m glad you dropped by. It IS rare for us to find like-minded people, isn’t it? So, where are you studying for your BEd?

  5. Shuana said,

    I have been studying at the U of Regina. I convocate in June. Finding a job is going to be the really tough part. There seem to be a lot of English teachers in the market.

  6. […] facet of my mind because I’ve never met anyone THAT trustworthy! (And as you can see from four previous posts of mine, I don’t think the God presented in the bible is […]

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