By Ken Yates
And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (Genesis 3:1)
Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead? (Acts 26:8)
Inerrancy in Question
GES recently held a conference in NC on Biblical Inerrancy. Inerrancy deals with the question of whether there are errors in the Bible.
It is an important topic. The world, of course, has always maintained that the Bible is full of errors. To them, the idea that a virgin gave birth, or that a man could rise from the dead, is the stuff of fairy tales and not to be taken seriously.
Yet, it is becoming more and more common even among evangelical Christians to entertain the notion that there are certain kinds of errors in the Bible. In many Christian circles it is acceptable to believe that there are historical errors in God’s Word.
It is thought the Bible is historically inaccurate in matters such as the reigns of ancient kings and documenting of locations. In addition, many argue that stories such as Jonah being swallowed by a large sea creature, a world-wide flood in the days of Noah, or the existence of a literal Adam and literal Eve may not be factual. The men who wrote of these things in the Bible were perhaps mistaken, or maybe they knew they did not actually occur but used these stories as poems or parables in order to make a theological point. Such Christians hold these stories can still be valuable because they teach us things about God even if they are not true.
Inerrancy in Evangelical Seminaries
Many evangelical seminaries are entertaining such views. It has been my experience, however, that the person in the pew of many conservative churches often times is unaware that these kinds of discussions are going on in the seminaries that their denomination supports.
A Keen Observation
After the conference, I discussed such contemporary views of inerrancy with a gentleman in a local church. After I explained these issues, he thought for a minute and responded with a perceptive observation.
He said the whole discussion reminds him of what happened in Genesis 3, when Satan first appears in the Bible. The first thing he said to Eve, in the King James Version is, “Yea, hath God said…?” He knew that the basic gist of these words is, “Did God REALLY say that?” Satan was questioning the truth of what God had said.
When I think about the accounts in the Bible that are often said to be historically inaccurate—Jonah, Noah, Adam and Eve—in essence people who question the veracity of these stories might ask, “Did God REALLY say that?” The idea that a man could live after three days in a fish, that there was a world-wide flood where 8 people survived on a boat for over a year, or that there was a literal creation of a single man and woman, are seen as too incredible to believe, especially in light of certain scientific evidence. It is maintained that, at the least, we ought to ask if God Himself really wants us to believe in the historical accuracy of such things. Maybe He wants us to realize they are kind of like fairy tales.
Why is it so Incredible?
It is interesting that in Acts 26 Paul is defending himself against the Jews who had brought accusations against him before the king. One of the things Paul defended was his notion that Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, had risen from the dead. Of course, for many of the religious leaders, such a notion was too incredible to believe and went contrary to all the physical evidence of the day. Paul asks why it is so incredible that the God who created the world should be able to raise a man from the dead?
Isn’t it the same with the stories that under attack in the Bible? If God could create the universe and if He could raise Jesus from the dead, why are the stories of Jonah, Noah, and Adam and Eve so hard to believe—even among some Christians?