David Lose: Lopsided bibliology

In his recent post on literal Bible reading and inerrancy, David Lose closes with the following assertion: "Reading the Bible literally undermines a chief confession of the Bible about God."

Rather than imagine that the Bible was also written by ordinary, fallible people, inerrantists have made the Bible an other-wordly, supernatural document that runs contrary to the biblical affirmation that God chooses ordinary vessels -- "jars of clay," the Apostle Paul calls them -- to bear an extraordinary message. In fact, literalists unwittingly ascribe to the Bible the status of being "fully human and fully divine" that is normally reserved only for Jesus.

Countering this argument requires two prongs, the first being logical. The essential argument of Lose's points runs thusly: People are fallible. The Bible was written by people. Therefore the Bible is fallible. Obviously we could expand any of these points to be more exact in the argumentation, but the essential point remains: Because people are fallible, the Bible they wrote is also fallible. Logically this fails on two fronts. First, the premise that the Bible was written by people is true, but a consistent assertion by the Church throughout the ages is that the Bible was also written by God. Christians affirm the dual authorship of scripture, God and man, so to assert that the Bible is fallible because it was written by man ignores the other half of the equation. Second, the assumption is that everything people produce then is fallible, but we would acknowledge that it is possible as a person to speak truthfully and correctly. "My name is Michael" is a true, accurate statement that is not fallible. Thus it is theoretically possible that I could produce a rather long document that is true and accurate in all details. Add to this the divine assistance God gave to the biblical authors, and inerrancy becomes a very logical deduction.

The second prong is theological. Lose claims that the description of "fully human and fully divine" is applicable only to Jesus. But like before this ignores the dual authorship of scripture. The church has maintained for hundreds of years that the Bible was written by human beings, but also by God. This in a nutshell is the doctrine of inspiration. The Bible has human characteristics in that shows the personality and situation of each individual author, but it has divine characteristics in that it shows the divine personality with its truth and power. The biblical authors were not the only ones involved; the divine Author was also there, controlling the process and creating his own desired income. On these grounds inerrancy stands as a valid doctrine.