Monday, July 16, 2007

How to stay ahead of the curve

Believe the Bible.

If you have much knowledge of the history of Biblical criticism, you know how many of the chest-thumpingly certain proclamations of its deriders now lie on the ash-heap — such as that the Hittites never existed, that Moses couldn't have written the Pentateuch because there was no alphabet in his day, and yadda yadda yadda.

My first thought when I read about the then-new Jesus Seminar was that it was cutting-edge 19th-century radical German scholarship. The Seminar thrived on the ignorance and philosophical biases of its supporters, and blithely wove historically nihilistic theories as if the previous century of archaeological discovery had never happened. (See more of my thoughts on this, here.)

In so many areas, the person who simply reads and believes the Bible may be behind the curve of the moment in society, but he is far ahead of the curve of the future. The facts always eventually swing around to affirm Biblical teaching.

So once again, a scholar in the British Museum cries out in delight when the translation of a cuneiform table hears out an almost incidental detain in the book of Jeremiah. He says, and I quote, "I think that it means that the whole of the narrative [of Jeremiah] takes on a new kind of power."

Well, no. Not really. "New" to you, maybe; but not new to the millions who have simply taken the narrative at God's Word for millennia. It just means that another discovery verifies the power with which the whole book (and the whole Book) has always spoken.

Do you want to get ahead of the curve, Doc? Believe the rest of it, now.

1 comment:

Daniel said...

I am reminded as I read this Dan of my family altar time this morning with my little ones. We read a chapter of scripture together before we study Koine (we are almost finished year one! - they are seven and nine years old).

We were reading from Acts, and we paused at this point in Pauls defense before Felix (Acts 24:14), where it says, "But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets" [ESV] - We stopped and discussed this passage and how it illumines how we ought to read the law and the prophets - just as Paul did - believing.

There was some discussion thereafter about how when you fail to believe the word you can still be zealously religious - just as the Jews were who were persecuting Paul - but you just won't "get it".

I thought of that immediately when I read this. How the problem is not that we can't understand, it is that we don't believe what we read, or we presume that what we read means more or less than it actually says in context.

I liked this post. ;-)