Monday Musings for October 16, 2017

Good morning, Musers,

Point-of-view is everything… and today’s question demonstrates this. A believer from Asia was worried about certain challenges to the creation account in Genesis as well as accusations that some parts of the Bible might be plagiarized… and here’s where point-of-view kicks in.

If … and before you even crack open your Bible to let the data speak… you insist that the earth is only thousands of years old (as opposed to billions), that is like adding ankle weights before a marathon. There is nothing in the rules that say you have to do that (although some would tell you that those are indeed the rules), and doing so would ensure that you lose the race. But also, it would impact your credibility with the other runners.

So why do it? A more robust point-of-view on creation would allow you to sort through the data more objectively, and taking a fair view of your hermeneutical options cannot help but contribute to a more informed decision. You see, some weights are useful and some are not… some weights are hurtful and some are not — but you decide! Don’t let anyone else strap them onto you.

In like manner, if you crack open your Bible while believing that God can be incompetent in any arena — but particularly in assembling, protecting and delivering his word to a contemporary audience — then again… you’re adding problems where none exist. And here, a more robust point-of-view on the nature of God and on biblical inerrancy would help to clear the fog.

Certain miseries can be prevented… as we who have parented (taught, mentored, etc.) are quick to point out to our wards. It makes me crazy to see young people adding the ankle weights of cigarette-smoking or credit card debt to their lives, but even adults do this with their thinking. Too many people install roadblocks to good exegesis by accepting the ones handed down from some beloved teacher or tradition.

But just as God expects each of us to have our own salvation experience (God has no grandchildren… only children), so he expects us to develop our own worldview… and not just accept the one handed to us. Now, we should honor our elders and carefully consider the wisdom they have passed on to us. But we need to come to our own conclusions as to whether or not their models of creation or eschatology have biblical warrant.

Christians who take an old-earth reading of creation feel no tension when evaluating God’s other revelation — his general revelation. You see, it’s not “Christians against science” here; it’s Christians against revelation. God created a discoverable universe for us to explore so that we could learn more about him. As such, we do not offend him by bringing that edition of his truth to bear on his written edition of the truth. They are hand-in-glove, so they must agree.

Albert Einstein understood that the world was inherently knowable. He said, “The amazing thing is not that we should know the world… but that it should be knowable.” What I find the most interesting about this statement is that Einstein didn’t mention human prowess here… which implies that scientific advancement was the expectation for humanity. But he was amazed at God’s prowess… that the world was knowable… and he thought that its discoverability was amazing in itself.

I find it philosophically amazing, too. The universe did not have to be knowable… but it is… so, why? Is it necessary? I don’t think so. That would be quite an extra burden on an entity… and I doubt it’s incidental for the same reason. So, if discoverability is neither required in a universe nor incidental to this universe, it must be purposeful in our universe… and only a transcendent God could do that.

As to the plagiarism issue, God revealed himself through his word as well as in his world. So, wouldn’t a God who created people who were optimized to process language make sure that something as important as “God’s Word” would pass through the centuries intact? A competent God would ensure that — and that’s a good assumption to make about God! But it’s also a vote for biblical inerrancy which is an important part of my Christian worldview.

Your point-of-view on anything affects your worldview on everything, and a robust Christian worldview — one that is defensible — requires an open mind. If all truth is God’s truth, then what’s to fear? God’s general revelation will never oppose this special revelation. So, if you find them in conflict, make sure you are clearing away the right roadblock… and join Einstein. Prepare yourself to be amazed!

Enjoy the musing.

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