During our last post we underlined the fact that the Bible is a clear message from God. It is not an abstract, theological, philosophical gobbledy gook tome worthy of the European Union. No, the main message of the Bible is simple and straight forward. This does not mean that there are not some difficult parts of Scripture. As we saw last time sections of the Bible are harder to read than others. However, this truth does mean that the main scriptural doctrines, ‘the big picture’ are readily comprehensible.
A couple of objections
The religious objection; ordinary men and women don’t have the skill to decipher the Bible so it is best left to the experts- the theologians and leaned professionals of the church
The mystical objection- the argument runs something like this; ‘God is so transcendent and beyond us that mere words can’t communicate his being and greatness’. And following on from this it is usually argued that all religions are nothing more than equally valid attempts to describe God.
So the message to all of us is- don’t be so arrogant as to claim that ‘your way’ is the only show in town.
As regards the former objection it must be said that, on the one hand, it would seem strange for God to give us a book ‘to be a light to our path’ (Psalm 119.105) if we need additional light from other sources to see our way ahead. It is a bit like being given an ‘all sufficient map’ and then being told that we will need to purchase another map down the road to understand the first map! On the other hand it does have to be said that throughout history it has often been the ‘religious professionals’ who have made the worst mistakes (just think back to who put Christ on the Cross!) when it comes to deciphering the Bible’s contents.
As regards the mystical objection let me say this- God is fully transcendent, so much so that even after spending eternity worshipping him we will still only be at the beginning of getting to know him! However, we need to make a distinction between ‘true knowledge’ and ‘complete knowledge’. I could easily tell you some true facts about JFK but I couldn’t come remotely close to giving you ‘complete knowledge’ about the man. The distinction also holds true for God. Everything that the Bible says about God is true so that it can be truly said that anything that contradicts the Bible is false. And by the same token the Bible (as it happily declares) doesn’t tell us everything about God rather it tells us what we need to know. We will talk a little more about this next time but for now why not pick up a Bible and discover the joy of discovering what God is like and what His will is for your life?