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Old 03-13-2001, 12:40 AM   #1
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Post When did the bible become the word of god?

I always find it amusing when the most vociferous fundies cry that the bible is the word of god, inerrant and true.

When did this dogma first enter the christian world? When they were canonizing the bloody thing, were the bishops in Rome sitting around saying "Now we are going to put together all the books that are the word of god. We must be careful not to put anything in here that isn't the word of god. We are producing an inerrant book, after all!"

Paradoxically, it is the militant protestant groups who loudly proclaim that the catholic church is without authority who at the same time proclaim the bible as the word of god. How can this be? If you give the catholic church the authority to tell you which words are of god, how can you at the same time say that the same organization is not qualified to lay down dogma on other issues. (Of course, nobody ever said that a fundamentalist was logical.)

When did it happen that the bible turned from being the holy book of christianity to being the inerrant word of god?
 
Old 03-13-2001, 02:03 AM   #2
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Zoroaster:
I always find it amusing when the most vociferous fundies cry that the bible is the word of god, inerrant and true.

When did this dogma first enter the christian world? When they were canonizing the bloody thing, were the bishops in Rome sitting around saying "Now we are going to put together all the books that are the word of god. We must be careful not to put anything in here that isn't the word of god. We are producing an inerrant book, after all!"

Paradoxically, it is the militant protestant groups who loudly proclaim that the catholic church is without authority who at the same time proclaim the bible as the word of god. How can this be? If you give the catholic church the authority to tell you which words are of god, how can you at the same time say that the same organization is not qualified to lay down dogma on other issues. (Of course, nobody ever said that a fundamentalist was logical.)

When did it happen that the bible turned from being the holy book of christianity to being the inerrant word of god?
</font>
Actually the canon the Catholics produce is not the same canon that "vociferous fundys" use. M. Luther in his canonization of the Bible took out the Apochryphal works. He did this because they were not accepted as the Word of God by the Jews. (and being pre-Christian would have been if they were really that) Protestants may view the Apocrypha as religious and historical literature(such as I do) or penned by Satan(like Jack Chick.) So if one argues that God divided the Church as He divided Israel(as Israel is considered a "type" of Church) then it follows that the Protestant movement had some kind of authority from God to slim down the Bible, as was done by Luther who most famously "started" the Reformation and provided the "new canon." The Reformers held that all the books of the (Protestant) Bible were truly Scripture; but that that did not mean that these were the only words of God. The Catholic position was that the Catholic canon was final and complete, containing all Scripture. It might be viewed that of some of the books left out, they might truly be Scripture; but that it is better to be "safe" than sorry.

Your picture of the bishops is reasonable. They argued over some of what books should be used: most were widely accepted, but a few more debated. It was an argument on what was Scripture. The Book of Revelation came in by one vote. Some might believe that to be an act of Providence.

The phrase "inerrant Word of God" does not appear in the Bible. "All Scriputre is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."(II Tim3:16) is the verse usually give for the doctrine. Also the Psalms, which say "Your Word is perfect." and Ecclesiastes and Revelation warning to neither add nor take away from the Lord's words. Added together they seem to give the "inerrant Word of God" doctrine; this is one of the 5 points of fundamentalism, and perhaps the most controversial one.
 
Old 03-13-2001, 05:15 AM   #3
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The phrase "inerrant Word of God" does not appear in the Bible. "All Scriputre is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."(II Tim3:16) is the verse usually give for the doctrine. Also the Psalms, which say "Your Word is perfect." and Ecclesiastes and Revelation warning to neither add nor take away from the Lord's words.

Unfortunately II Timothy is a forgery not by Paul, and the translation you have there does not note that the position of the comma and the word "is" are controversial; it could say
"all scripture that is given by god is" implying that some scripture is not. Further, nowhere does it say what scripture is. In short, the Bible itself does not say that it is the inerrant word of god, since it does not specify which books are the word of god.

Michael
 
Old 03-13-2001, 01:00 PM   #4
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The Bible does say that the word of God is perfect, but why does that have to be a reference to the Bible? Applying those verses to the Bible presupposes that the Bible is the word of God. To a theist, the words of a perfect God would be perfect. But the Bible was written by man.

Furthermore, there is debate over whether 2 Tim. 3:16-17 says, "all scripture is God breathed and profitable..." or "every God-breathed scripture is also profitable..." Also, what does God breathed mean? There's even debate about that. God breathed into Adam, but he still had the ability to go wrong.
 
Old 03-13-2001, 02:16 PM   #5
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by a_theistnotatheist:
Added together they seem to give the "inerrant Word of God" doctrine; this is one of the 5 points of fundamentalism, and perhaps the most controversial one. </font>
I didn't know fundamentalisn had five points. I'm intrigued. What are they, and are they in any way related to the five points of Calvinism? I don't remember Bible inerrancy being one of Calvin's five points so maybe not.

I suspect we sceptics will be able to find some quibbles with the other four as well.
 
Old 03-13-2001, 03:10 PM   #6
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Iain Simpson:
I didn't know fundamentalisn had five points. I'm intrigued. What are they, and are they in any way related to the five points of Calvinism? I don't remember Bible inerrancy being one of Calvin's five points so maybe not.

I suspect we sceptics will be able to find some quibbles with the other four as well.
</font>
The original "fundamentalism" arose in the 1920s as an answer to Christian liberalism, which denied the 2nd coming, salvation through the cross, and pretty much every important Christian doctrine. The fundamentalist movement came up with 5 points to test if one was a "true brother" or not.
1. the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible;
2. the deity of Christ and his virgin birth;
3. the substitutionary atonement of Christ's death;
4. the literal resurrection of Christ from the dead
5. the literal return of Christ

The last 4 rely heavily on the first. That is why inerrancy is such an important doctrine; one that is thrown out, any other possibility may then be believed: Jesus swooned, Jesus never lived, the resurrection was a fraud, etc.

People who hold to these 5 points are usually called "evangelicals" today.(many who are called "fundamentalists" seem to be more like 50-point fundamentalists)

**I suppose it is assumed by that the Bible we have was ordered so by Divine Providence. It's also noted that most of these writings were recognised prior to the canon by the Church Fathers(although there were a few other manuscripts they accepted which were later rejected) Most of the NT was not debated at all; the most significant one that was was Revelation. Ones like II John, Philemon seem quite doctrinally void, or light, and do not offer anything that is not already testified to in previous scriptures. Also from letters of early Christians it has been found that most of the NT books were considered scriptural before the canonisation; that is they were quoted as authoritative for believers. Assuming the given authorship of the texts(which obviously not everyone does) there would be the argument from Apostleship, for the most part. John, Matthew and Peter, Paul who was accepted by the disciples, Mark and Luke, also testified to by Paul, and Jude, presumed to be the brother of Jesus.

[This message has been edited by a_theistnotatheist (edited March 13, 2001).]
 
Old 03-14-2001, 10:24 PM   #7
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There is a difference between saying something is authoritative and inerrant. For instance, encyclical letters are authoritative, but they are not considered "infallible." Only the pope speaking ex-cathedra is technically infallible. But indeed, what he says "non" ex-cathedra is very, very authoritative and actually, Catholics are obligated to follow it. But as we all know church doctrine changes. So, just because certain NT books were considered authoritative does not mean they were considered inerrant. And even if they were, should Christians now consider them inerrant?
 
Old 03-15-2001, 03:01 AM   #8
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Smile

(1) Humans err

(2) God does not err

(3) That which Christ taught is inerrant

(4) There appear to be no transcription errors which lead to confusion about what Christ taught, so the result is a high level of doctrinal consistency between the Gospels.

So if we adhere to the teachings of Christ what is the problem?

Blessings and Peace

Hilarius

 
Old 03-15-2001, 12:04 PM   #9
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As to the Five Points of Fundamentalism, these were asserted nearly a century ago as part of a rebellion against what was perceived as a dilution of Christianity ("Don't tell me about literal vs. allegorical. The Bible is The Truth, and that's that!").

However, since then, "Fundamentalism" has become a more generic sort of term.
 
Old 03-23-2001, 04:48 AM   #10
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by a_theistnotatheist:
Revelation warning to neither add nor take away from the Lord's words. </font>
Yes and no. As of today, Rev. is last in the (Christian) canon, and that's why it appears that Rev. talks 'bout the whole Bible, but the actual text does not (necessarily) imply more than Rev. itself, that is, a letter to seven explicitly stated churches in Asia Minor, and no one else.

P.S.: I had concocted a reply to a question you har in the Feedback Forum, where I'm not allowed to post - it was a question about Nebuchaddrezzar, so I'll just push that response in here FYI:

=============================================
Hmm, I'm no expert [on Hebrew fatherhood], but as far as I've found out from reading inerrantist litterature, the following applies:

1. A direct father (as in English) is a father.

2. A father of a father is a father.

3. A brother of a father is a father.

4. A father of a mother is a father.

5. A brother of a mother is a father.

6. A father of a wife is a father.

7. As a last resort, invent, duplicate, or change gender to get a father.

8. A son is the reverse of a father.


Note: 4 does not necessarily follow from 5, so 4 isn't redundant.


So, where does that leave us? Since Belshazzar was direct son of Nabonidus, not of Nebuchadrezzar (or N..nezzar, if Daniel or pseudo-Jeremiah is your favorite prophet), inerrantists need to apply another rule than rule 1. Since Jeremiah (one of 'em, at least) have Nebu, Son of Nebu, and Grandson of Nebu, and - I believe - 2. Chronicles count Evil-Merodak as Son of Nebu, you id Belshazzar with Grandson of Nebu. How? Well, Nabonidus is mostly known as a historian (counted as authoritative around 1900 AD) and a stargazer, he could never have ascended the throne extradynastically - hence he must have been a son-in-law of Nebu. By rule 6, then Nabonidus was a son of Nebu, and by rule 2, Belshazzar was a son of Nebu.
The tough luck is, of course, that the brother-in-law of Evil-M, Nergissal (or something like that), suceeded Evil-M, so things don't add up anyhow. But how much did Jeremiah know? Or care? He'd said 70 years, so dynastical troubles should have no impact. Daniel, who used a later copy of the Torah, where it said that Yahweh would pay back seven fold, then got the brilliant idea to multiply 70 by 7 and describe family relations among pre-Hellenistic kings in Babylon in such a way as to allow any random interpretation.

Ok, that was that, and it probably didn't make anybody wiser, so I'll add a question instead: The year 164/63 BC was a sabbatical year (acc. to 1 Macc.), so that would apply to the year 171/70 too. And, of course, 62 sabbatical cycles before that, that is 605/604, just about when Daniel was taken captive. The anointed prince could be Danny-boy himself, or Nebu. But if I'm right in this reasoning, what do I do with the remaining 49 years (a jubilee less the jubilee year)?

FreezBee
 
 

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