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August 08, 2008


Fr Craig

Thanks DCT, good stuff as always. I suspect that Phil is attempting to make this a 'black and white' issue and, of course, it isn't. As a priest, I believe that my own writing and preaching is often 'inspired' by God - I know, looking back, that I didn't work out in advance the feelings and emotions people have in response, I don't have such an ego as to think that people respond to 'Fr Craig,' they are responding to - I pray - God's Word that I have prayed might force its way through me, in spite of my sinful self.

Thus, I believe, the Bible is also inspired (in many places) as human authors struggled to record their (sinful) response to God's revelations. I find it hard to believe that God would have gone into such great detail on tent construction, etc. as we find in Torah. That doesn't seem inspired to me - although the guys who did the first tent of worship may well have been led by inspiration - as those who built Chartres were surely inspired.

The real question (I suspect) Phil is getting at is: if it is God's word, who has the right to question it? For some folks, it is terribly frightening to challenge 'God's Word.' I am not sure why. The Jews have a centuries long tradition of arguing with God, debating his Word, and even creating great stories to illustrate what they (the individual authors) think God is trying to say. I challenge God all the time in my prayers - I count on his love and grace to lead me to the correct place eventually.

So the short answer is that clearly the Bible is of human origin - the issue is how we deal with the belief (which I hold to) that most of it is divinely inspired, and how do we decide who gets to decide what is and what isn't. I readily grant Phil the right to decide - will he grant me the same?

My 'long' answer is that the only way to approach this 2-3000 year old book is to look for the overall 'big picture.' And I see this 'trajectory' of revelation by God beginning with Creation, the call of Abraham, etc, etc, leading to Jesus - God's Word made flesh. Thus, while Jesus does not obviate the Old Testament (far from it), we must look at the earlier revelations in the light of Jesus, the penultimate revelation. Getting bogged down in the details of Scripture leads to 'worship of the words' and not 'worship of the Word.'

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