Is the Bible Authoritative?
by Greg Koukl
How do we justify our belief of Biblical authority when some don’t believe that the Bible is inerrant?
Part of the apparent scientific contradictions have to do not with scientific facts, but with scientific interpretations. Like, evolution and the Bible I think are incompatible, the general theory, that is. Darwinism, the neo-Darwinian synthesis. But I think that goes beyond the facts. I think the facts of science can be well connected. Also, I think there is some misreading when you see language that is really poetic, language that wasn’t meant to be read in a sense scientifically, and that gives the impression that the Bible contradicts science.
But I think the broader question about why should I trust the Bible as an authority should be addressed. One of the things about the Christian world view, foundational, is that God has spoken. That “He is there and He is not silent”, to quote the title of Francis Schaeffer’s book. God has made Himself known to us. That’s what Christians believe. And we believe that He has done that through the Bible. So, the question is, How do I justify or rationalize my presupposition of Biblical authority because some don’t believe that it is inerrant. I’m not going to rationalize it. I will try to give you some reasons why I think that it is the word of God. But if I give you reasons, then it is not a presupposition. A presupposition is something that you presuppose before you come to the evidence. So, I’m just taking the Bible at face value, at least for the purpose of our discussion.
Here is a book that claims to be the word of God, which is an unusual claim, by the way. Most religious works don’t make the claim that it is God Himself who is communicating through His mouthpiece, other human beings.
Now, some people have the view that, by virtue of the fact that human beings are involved in the process, therefore it must be flawed. Well, that simply doesn’t follow. It certainly doesn’t follow that because a human being wrote it that it can’t possibly be the word of God. That just isn’t the case.
Paul, for example, used emmanuensai. These were like secretaries. Those of you who are in business may have someone like that. You use them to take dictation, and they write down what you tell them to write down, and then you send it on. Does it follow from the fact that they’re writing your words that they can’t be your words? No, not at all. Does it follow from the fact that they’re writing your words that they must get them wrong? No, that doesn’t follow either, even when you’re just talking about a human being.
So you can’t just say, Well, men wrote it, therefore it must be flawed, because that doesn’t follow. If the claim of the Bible itself is true, it doesn’t seem to be the case that if God is actually involved, He can’t get men to do and to write down what He wants them to.
There’s nothing incoherent about the claim itself. There’s nothing self-refuting about the claim that men write the very words of God and that it is inerrant. So we’re going to dispatch those objections immediately because they’re not good objections…
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