“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (Jas. 1:17)
Another typical approach of skeptics and critics to separate the God of the Old Testament from the God of the New Testament…to attempt to divide-and-conquer…is to point out clearly amoral actions in the Old Testament…and then incorrectly imply that the Bible’s honest recording of bad human behavior is tantamount to endorsing such behavior.
Anyone taking Bible Studies 101 as a general elective from the Religious Studies Department in a college or university will quickly learn the standard biblical interpretation concept…that merely because the Bible records an action does not mean it endorses that action.
Bible critics cite the examples of some bad decisions made by Abraham, some huge moral failures in David’s life, the obvious moral outrage involving the Levite and the concubine in Judges 19, among other examples, as flagrant cases of the moral shortcomings of some key biblical actors…impugning the overall character of the Old Testament and thereby the God of the Old Testament…Jehovah…as if God should only select and call already upright and perfect people.
The mistake made here by skeptics and critics is fundamental…and has no application in an argument for or against the existence of the God of the biblical Old Testament.
The Bible honestly identifies and records the shortcomings of mankind…even in the lives of the people of faith…which the Bible calls sin.
Abraham is called the father of faith, not the father of righteousness. The biblical record of human redemptive history is not whitewashed or sugar-coated with the false pride of the modern nonsense of “I’m okay, you’re okay.”
We all have the free-will capacity to make choices that can potentially produce a great amount of good…and conversely to make choices that can produce a great amount of evil and suffering.
The Bible faces the reality of good and evil head-on with foursquare honesty…not electing to sweep under the rug the faults and failures in human life…precisely because the Bible boldly and unapologetically has the one right answer…the solution… to the problem all of us face…which is sin.
A God-composed journey of faith life-script is divinely designed to produce genuine character growth. Nowhere in the biblical narrative stories of faith is perfection of performance assumed or expected out of these real-life human actors, except in the singular sin-free life of Jesus Christ the Son of God.
I cannot think of a more down-to-earth, hard-boiled, realistic approach to human nature than the honest portrayal of people on their journey from purposeless, under-performing self-autonomy…to becoming new, improved people within their uniquely predestined, God-composed journeys of faith.
From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity.
One thought on “Bible Studies 101”
So true! Scripture gives us a truthful description of humanity and then, provides us with the solution–new life in Christ! Great post, my friend! 🙂