Implications of Scriptural Inerrancy
To determine Truth, humanity must begin with God’s special revelation, His written Word. Faith, of course, is requisite. Generally, truth appeals to human intellect when it is self-evidently correct, or when it is supported by an overwhelming volume of convincing rational and logical argumentation. Faith, however, does not require convincing evidence or self-evidential proof that would demand outright intellectual acceptance. Yet Thomas Aquinas insists upon the rationality of Christian faith in that Christian faith (as opposed to other faiths) is the most consistent with human reason properly applied; he further insists that such faith is specifically a response to that which rests beyond human reason, that being divine revelation.
Sadly, the 1700-1800’s witnessed an attack on Scripture that was meant to undo the Reformation’s attempt to get back to the absolute authority of the Word of God. Since then there has been an endless assault on Scriptural Truth, and at the vanguard of this offensive is both secular/scientific and “Christian” academia. Where then is the defense against such? It should exist within the Church through its command to exemplify bold proclamation of Truth (1 Peter 3:13-14) amidst a world that does not like to retain God in its knowledge (Rom. 1:28). However, the Church has sorely failed due to a lack of respect for Truth and a dangerous dismissal of the inerrancy of Scripture… and thus the world holds no respect for Truth and dismisses the Word of God as mere literature. This has resulted in over a century of cultural corruption that is not merely a problem to be remedied, it is a consequence of wrong action that must be reversed so as to bring hope to future generations.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 shows that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Proverbs 30:5-6 is foundational to this truth, offers warning to those who would ignore such, and reveals that God will certainly employ His own counsel: “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.”
In light of God’s own proclamation that His Word is indeed His Word, why is it that so many “academics” and “theologians” fall into eisegetical interpretations of Scripture purposing to defend/promote a particular dogma, in effect telling God what He really means despite what He is clearly saying? Humanity’s efforts to understand an infinite and omnipotent Creator results in either faithful acceptance of His complex simplicity, or in further complicating what should be simply accepted through faith. Note that those who further complicate divine simplicity are in actuality undermining the purpose of faith itself as they seek elusive evidences, at times creating such, in what becomes an exercise in futility that creates only confusion.
To prove this I offer an inquiry: When one attempts to reconcile God’s perfect Word with humanity’s imperfect opinion/views, which gets modified? Most often it is God’s Word that gets modified. How so? Consider how Darwin’s promotion of human evolution has affected our approach to Scripture. Also consider that Darwin’s influence manifested during the aforementioned era of Scriptural attack. Not until the 1700-1800’s was the inerrancy of Scripture seriously challenged, and this due to advances in scientific understanding of the natural world that should have led toward greater understanding of our Creator and His natural order. Rather, humanity’s free will and inquisitive nature was thus exploited by the enemy, just as it was when the serpent asked Eve “Has God indeed said…?” (Gen. 3:1). In planting a notion of doubt, one’s mind can be turned from truth. Upon expansion of said doubt, one’s mind can follow after untruth more vigorously than ever exerted toward actual truth.
The battle today between Truth and untruth is the same as it was in Eden’s garden. Through modern sciences (and individuals) the serpent has employed the same strategy as before, this time attacking the notion of Creation itself, in effect challenging the very foundation of Scripture and thus the integrity of the Creator. What the Christian must comprehend so as to stand unwavering under such assault is that a Christian worldview, particularly in reference to origins, does not begin with Christ, but with Creation (though pre-Incarnate Christ was there as the active Participant in the creative act itself, but this simply proves a sublime profundity; Jesus even refers to Himself as the Beginning of Creation–Rev. 3:14; John 1).
The majority of polls show that while most people believe God actually created the world and universe supernaturally, they do not believe He created in six literal days. However, this contradicts their own belief in God’s creative power, for while quick to accept a supernatural Creator supernaturally creating something from nothing, they then deny Him such power by insisting that He could not have created in six literal 24hr days. In fact, He could have created instantly, or in six seconds if He had so desired. So why did God take so long? “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God… For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day…” (Ex. 20:9-11)
The Lord God never acts idly or without reason. He created in six days, resting the seventh, so as to set the example for His creation. It is that simple. And God’s profound nature demands that we accept His purpose on both the literal and symbolic levels that are displayed through all Scripture, understanding that the symbolic never supplants the literal, for what is literal always explains the symbolic.
So why such discrepancy concerning belief in Creation in general, but not in six literal days? It is due to the “supposed” scientific “proofs” of an old earth age as supported or insisted upon by evolutionary concepts/dogma. Yet there is no room for millions/billions of years in the Biblical genealogies from Adam to Christ. Therefore, if one insists on vast millennia negating a literal six day Creation, then one insists also that the Bible is fallible and that Christ’s own references to Creation are unreliable (Mark 10:6; 13:19; Rev. 3:14). The idea of millions/billions of years is a common factor between all deviant Creation theories, as developed by human reason alone. Such theories include the gap theory, progressive creation, theistic evolution, and the framework hypothesis. Each of these is an attempt to compromise/modify Scripture by reworking the Creation account of Genesis 1 to permit humanity’s tainted ideals, whereas a simple acceptance of God’s Word as His Word indeed would allow for only one understanding of the Creation account: the biblical one!
The adoption of any of these blasphemous humanist views undercuts the sovereignty of Almighty God and His creative power through Jesus Christ since Christ was there at Creation and humanity was not. The failure of the Church to combat these deviant philosophies reveals a spirit of compromise as humanity succumbs ever more to human reason divorced from true faith in God’s Word, revealing further still the sad fact that most church leaders have not thought through the consequences of what they profess and strive to indoctrinate others into, therein damaging rising generations with bad theology.
In a weak effort to justify the flux of ever-changing interpretive methods adopted by the Church, Charles Hodge asserts that “The Church has been forced more than once to alter her interpretation of the Bible to accommodate the discoveries of science. But this has been done without doing any violence to the Scriptures or in any degree impairing their authority” (Systematic Theology, p571). This statement is a perfect contradiction in that while professing to hold Scripture as absolutely authoritative the extreme adverse is simultaneously professed! The Church is not to interpret Scripture on the basis of nature and human reason, but must interpret nature and human reason on the basis of Scripture.
My comment above concerning humanity’s tendency to follow more vigorously after untruth whilst professing to pursue actual Truth is supported by the apostle Paul when he warns of those who profess to be wise, yet are fools when they exchange the truth of God for a lie, worshiping and serving the creature and creation rather than the Creator (Rom. 1:22-25). Even Christians fall into this practice of reducing God to the level of the world in their attempts to understand Him through Creation rather than understanding Creation through Him.
The following quote is an alarming example of brilliant idiocy within theological academia: “We have to admit… that the exegetical basis of the creationists is strong… [But] in spite of the careful biblical and scientific research that has accumulated in support of the creationists’ view… Data from various disciplines point to a very old earth and an even older universe…” (Dr. James Boice, Genesis, Vol. 1, pp57-62, emphasis added). Here is someone agreeing that the exegetical basis, i.e. a simple reading, of Genesis 1, coupled with careful biblical and scientific research results in an understanding of a literal six 24hr day Creation. But rather than rest upon the authority of Scripture, as God demands, Dr. Boice holds “data from various disciplines” over and above the Word of God–“various disciplines” being synonymous with millions/billions of years.
The late Meredith Kline of Westminster Theological Seminary continues the theme of brilliant idiocy in an article entitled Space and Time in Genesis Cosmogony (footnote 47, pp34-35) that appeared in the publication Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith (March ’96): “In this article I have advocated an interpretation of biblical cosmogony according to which Scripture is open to the current scientific view of a very old universe, and in that respect, does not discountenance the theory of the evolutionary origin of man… But while I regard the widespread insistence on a young earth to be deplorable disservice to the cause of biblical truth, I at the same time deem commitment to the authority of Scriptural teaching…” Here, Kline even admits to the dishonorable practice of modifying the Word of God so that a compromise with humanist ideals may be presented as scholarly and of genuine spiritual merit!
If one reads Genesis 1 and 2 as the Lord God intends, one will not suffer the confusion of the tendency to reason oneself out of logical thinking by thinking too much. Genesis indicates Almighty God’s authority over and ownership of the world and all creation. Humanity is a part of that creation, with specific roles to play within it. One such role is stewardship of the creation. Genesis 1:26 records God giving humanity dominion over the sea, air, and earth and all creatures therein- yet nowhere does God give ownership of such. Nor does He ever give dominion over His Word. Christians today (disciple or leader, academic or layperson) would do well to remember this.
To conclude I offer the words of two powerful men of God. Moses, to whom the Lord God gave visionary/literary inspiration concerning our origin, understood the gravity and simplicity of God’s sovereign acts, particularly Creation Week. This is evident in one of Moses’ prayers found in Psalm 90:12–“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
Martin Luther, an individual utilized mightily by God to advance the inerrancy of Scripture, delivers a withering blow to the eisegetical tendencies of humanity: “If you cannot understand how this [Creation] could have been done in six days, then grant the Holy Spirit the honor of being more learned than you are.”