Monday, 1 January 2007

Atheists and the Inerrancy of Scripture

In discussions with atheists and skeptics, I note some Christians saying that they don’t care if there are mistakes in the Bible; it doesn’t matter to them. I must say that I think this is a very dangerous position to hold. It may be a position taken out of defensiveness, and a fear that there actually are unsolvable contradictions and errors in the Word of God. Skeptics’ arguments can be convincing if we have not done “due diligence” in examining and testing their objections.

But I believe that true Christian believers MUST hold to the position that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as originally given, are the inspired word of God and are therefore without error. If they are not, we find ourselves on very shaky ground. The Scriptures are the very foundation of our faith and the source of all we know of the life, ministry, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. If we admit to the possibility they may not be correct, what have we to stand on? The Scriptures say that Jesus lived; could they be wrong? They tell us that he died and rose again; if we are not sure of their accuracy, could this be untrue. Paul says that if Christ is not risen our faith is useless. It seems that some atheists know this, apparently better than some believers, because they devote a lot of time and resources to attempting to ‘debunk’ the Bible. They know that if they can get us to question the word of God, we will begin to question our faith.

Some Christians may say they have had a personal experience of God and that is enough for them. Yes, every believer has had some kind of personal experience of God, but that is not enough. It can only be validated as true to the extent it aligns with Scripture. If you tell me you have had a personal experience of God, and it either adds to, subtracts from or differs from Scripture, I can only tell you that is all you had: some kind of personal experience

Yes, there are difficulties in the Bible, but do not fear, most (in faith I will say all) can be reconciled with a reasonable explanation. Some objectors have said that they will not accept just a “possible” explanation but insists on positive proof for every apparent discrepancy. I submit that we need not provide this type of ironclad evidence to show that faith in the inerrancy of scripture is a reasonable position to hold. I compare it to our legal system. If a person is accused of a crime, all the defence must show is a reasonable possibility of his innocence for him to be acquitted. He does not need to prove his innocence beyond the shadow of a doubt. Similarly, sceptics may insist on irrefutable proof in every case they raise, but it’s up to them, as the “prosecution”, so to speak, to prove their case beyond any doubt. All I’m saying is that a Christian believer need only see a reasonable and believable explanation to an apparent Biblical contradiction to feel secure in his faith.

Take Care

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