One of the blogs I have begun following, entitled “hessianwithteeth” (HWT), has posted a series of articles entitled “Why I Can’t Agree with the Bible“. These articles basically list questions that the author has as she reads through the Bible, starting with Genesis. She has many questions! I asked the author if she would mind whittling down the number of her questions to those she found most essential, and she has attempted to do so. I will now attempt to write a series of my own articles, and attempt to answer her questions as completely as possible.
There are a few principles that need to be kept in mind throughout this process. First, some of the questions she has asked can not be answered with any certainty whatsoever, because the information is just not there. Next, some of the questions she has asked may have more than one possible answer. I will give what I feel is the best answer, but I freely admit I could be wrong. I am not a Biblical scholar, or a trained theologian. My only claim to any knowledge of the Bible is what I have learned through reading, study, and hearing the preaching of God’s word.
What makes a good answer for these questions? I will attempt to establish some criteria for my answers, and for each answer I will attempt to meet the criteria I have established. (HWT, if you have suggestions for these criteria, I am open to them.)
- The answer should be logically consistent in the context of the narrative in question. One goal I have is to make sure I don’t go so far out on a branch in attempting to answer these questions that I walk out of the tree.
- The answer should be internally coherent with the classical Biblical and Christian worldview. For instance, I love going to movies. All I ask from a movie is to be internally coherent. This means that whatever ‘world” the director is trying to present needs to make sense throughout the movie. In The Avengers, for example, the heroes and villains have certain powers, strengths, and weaknesses. These attributes should be consistent throughout the movie, or it is not internally coherent.
- My goal is not to try to satisfy the question asker with an answer that will fit any other worldview other than that listed in #2. For instance, the Christian worldview holds that God exists, and He has certain attributes. I won’t try to defend these initial premises on their own merits (although I have begun to do so in other articles), except when to show how they pertain to the specific questions at hand. For the purposes of this exercise, we will again resort to The Avengers example. The director has asked us to “suspend our disbelief” as we watch the movie, meaning we know that these things aren’t true in the real world, but for the duration of the movie we accept them as being true, and as long as the movie is internally coherent, then no matter how fantastical the story gets, it is still a good story. HWT, I ask the same thing of you. I understand you don’t believe these things you are reading. That’s ok. All I ask is that you evaluate the answers I attempt to give on the merits of being internally consistent within what you believe is the work of fiction called the Bible.
I hope to be able to show the writer at HWT and other Biblical skeptics that there are plausible explanations for the questions they have. Hopefully we can at least agree on that much, whether or not she finds my answers compelling enough to accept as satisfying. Finally, HWT has asked more questions than I have time to devote to give complete and reasonable responses for, so I will sort of pick and choose my way through her questions, answering those that I think I can offer the best and most complete answers for. I will also give her ample opportunity to rebut my answers or to ask for further clarification.
I’d love to discuss these things with you. Any questions and comments that are in line with this page’s Commenting Policy will be published and responded to (to the best of my ability).
For more information on how I keep my worldview informed please go to Cross Roads Church.