Monday Musings for July 02, 2018

Good morning, Musers,

The Nephilim are among the more interesting creatures in the Bible (Genesis 6:4). This is true, in no small part, because we know so little about them — and what we do know about them is creepy, compelling and prone to speculation. In fact, there is an ancient work called the Book of Giants that purports to flesh out those biblical narratives… and we’ll talk about that today.

So — and particularly for those of us who subscribe to biblical inerrancy — is such a book helpful? And if it is, how?

There are many manuscripts similar to the Book of Giants that predate the New Testament… and this is important because antiquity equals gravitas. But does it make their histories true? And when they attach themselves to inerrant Scripture as does the Book of Giants, does this make these documents inerrant, too?

First, I think that every ancient document is a prize. Furthermore, I think that every ancient document is useful… and that some have more value than many newer ones! But this doesn’t mean that the words they contain are true. All it means is that we have a unique window into the past. But just as centuries-old windows offer us a view through wavy glass, ancient documents act the same way. They let the light in, and we see… but we see imperfectly.

Now, here’s the thing about us humans: we are curious beings, and as such, we need to make sense of things. To do this we tell stories… but this means that we often “lie” to tell the truth. You see, a story never tells the whole truth… because…well… the whole truth is boring!

This is why everyone’s story is at least a little distilled. If you wrote down a minute-by-minute account of even the world’s most winsome adventurer, his story would be mind-numbingly boring. Only a brave few would endure the ennui involved with getting “the story” out of the whole (raw, gross) truth. That’s why we have authors and editors; they are the ones who make our stories as we expect our stories to be.

So, here’s the problem. Since all story writing is more about making decisions and editing than it is reflecting life on the ground, then none of it is the plain truth… I mean… look at Jesus. He taught God’s truth in parables because his audience had become corrupted! (Matthew 13:10-16). This is why he told us, “He that hath an ear let him hear.” The process of interpreting stories is always one of discernment… and we are never free of that constraint.

So, whether it’s a used car contract or John 3:16, the same rule applies: let the buyer beware. (Caveat emptor.) As for me, I’m “buying” John 3:16… but maybe I’ll pass on the Buick.

In addition to being curious beings, we humans are also creative beings, and when a creative mind reads about such underdefined yet intriguing characters as the Nephilim, he thinks, “That’s a great place for a story!” Well, that’s what we have in the Book of Giants. It’s the story that “had” to be written. But is it a story that had to be true? Come and see.

To read the article referenced above, visit the link below.

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