Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Inerrancy as Humility

When confronted with a view of God in the Bible that I may find to be disturbing, I have two roads to take. I can either assume errancy: that the ancient writers of Scripture are broken, and thus, their view of God was distorted, and my view is not as broken as theirs--thus enabling me and my sensibilities to determine a more correct view of God in order to judge that their view of God is false; or I can assume inerrancy: that both I and the ancient authors are broken, but that God is capable of communicating Himself accurately to both of us.

The former is a purely anthropocentric endeavor. I am left to fight for my superior brokenness to their inferior brokeness. The latter is theocentric. I assume that, despite our brokenness, God is capable of communicating Himself rightly.

Errancy, then, is an arrogant stance, where modern humans assume that they are better equipped, due to their superior intellect, morality, existential connection to God via experience, etc., to discern God apart from verbal revelation from God Himself. I merely must assume that I am a better man than the ancient author was, and continually emphasize myself over and above him.

Inerrancy, however, emphasizes God's ability. It does not need me to consider myself as a better man than the ancient author. He is broken. I am broken. But God is not broken, nor is our finite brokenness a hindrance to His abilities.

That means that I am disturbed by those images of God, not because they are the disturbing images dreamed up by some broken man, and are therefore wrong views of God, but because I am broken and sick and thus distort the good character of God as an evil, precisely, because it does not match up to my own ideals--ideals born of an evil and rebellious mind (lifting my own understanding within my finitude above what is revealed), broken ideas from a broken man.

There can be only one option, then. Errancy is a game of the arrogant, who lift themselves up higher than others in order to achieve their supposedly higher images of God; but inerrancy is for the humble, who realize that no man is good, no, not even one; but that God is good and His word can go forth into darkness and create light without the darkness hindering a thing.

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