Thursday, September 25, 2014

Biblical Faith

“I am a believer. Let’s get that straight from the get-go.” - Walter

It is God that I believe in … and I admit that’s a loaded word for a lot of people, so maybe it’s not the best word for that about which I am speaking. I am talking about the first cause, about ultimate reality; about the reason you’re there and I’m here; about the being that brought all of this and us into existence.

I believe I am here for a purpose ( I believe that this purpose is more than a little murky to me, even after all these years. ) rather than it's pure randomness that brought me into existence.

I am up front about that because it colors everything about my life. Among its coloring, it has enabled me to be comfortable with mystery, ambiguity, contradiction and dilemma. ( This is a relatively recent development. ) I want to explore how it colors how I look at and read the Bible.

Not only do I believe in God, but I also believe that God has been active in human history from its beginning. I view and understand the Bible as an attempt by its writers to capture primarily their understanding of the meaning of that activity in human history.

I believe the Biblical writings are inspired. ( I also believe many of today’s great spiritual writers are inspired. ) This means they have been gifted with significant insight; it does not mean God dictates to them what to say. It means they write in all their humanness, with all of their human failings and frailties and cultural prejudices. It does not mean their writing is free of errors of fact, omission, and commission. It means that two writers, aware of the same activity of God can write about it in different and even contradictory ways.

( After witnessing and disagreeing about the objectively simple act of four deer crossing the road, my wife and I know first-hand the problem of two people witnessing and attesting to the same mundane event. Imagine the exponentially more difficult task of writing about not a mundane event but about an event as complex as God’s involvement in human history. The old testament Biblical writers dealt with all of that, but also dealt with the events' happening generations before them, being documented in an oral tradition, and then being written about in a sometimes contradictory fashion. )

I have no doubt that God, ultimate reality, the ground of being, nay, being itself, intervened in the history of the Jewish people and Scripture is the attempt of weak, sinful, limited human beings to tell of it … not of the history and chronology of the event(s), but of the meaning of the events for the people and peoples who experienced them and, ultimately, for all of us.

I will pick this up in a future post ... promise.
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