Thursday, January 12, 2006

Can of Worms

This post started out as a response to a comment Lorna made to SingingOwl's post, but it got so long I decided to make it a post of its own.

****The question is - I guess - is the OT portraying it as it exactly was, or is
there a male bias in the writing. It depends on how you view the Bible I

Yes. I'm grappling with the idea that the bible maybe doesn't give the whole picture (well, it obviously doesn't give the whole picture.)
I'm also flirting with the idea that the bible isn't infallible in all parts, and that's heresy in these here parts.

Oh, I have lots of thoughts and questions and this is a can of worms, so I'll just share one example from our recent readings.

"Then the Lord said "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their
sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as
the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know." Genesis 18:20-21

I believe without a doubt that God is omniscient, so why would he need to "go down and see if what they have done is as bad" as He had heard? So, is this scripture, indeed God-breathed? Or is this written from a human perspective based on how humans saw God at the time?
And if the Bible is written by humans and not by God, well that rocks my world. I'm not sure I wanna go there.

Maybe this is why I always stop reading when I dive into the Old Testament. It raises questions that lead to doubting for me. In fact, I prayed before I began reading for God to protect me from the doubts that I knew this reading would surely raise.

I'm still plowing through. I do trust God. I'm just not so sure anymore that every word of the Old Testament is God breathed, but then didn't Jesus say that every jot and tittle would be fulfilled, which of course, implies that God's hand was indeed at work in the writing of the scriptures.

So, you see. I'm a confused woman, and reading the bible straight through hasn't cleared up any confusion for me. It's created more.


At 1/12/2006 6:08 AM, Blogger eija said...

I wondered about that too. But then I came to think that maybe it wasn't actually God going to see what was going on, but God coming to tell Abraham what He was going to do about those towns.

The sad (?) truth is, that in the Bible there is so much that we don't understand at all. I can only ask God to reveal those things to me, to explain, and then he either will do that or won't. My job is only to trust Him and His Word.

At 1/12/2006 7:12 AM, Blogger LutheranChik said...

The parts of Genesis that talk about an anthropomorphized God -- a God who walks in the garden in the cool of the day, who goes down to earth to see what's going on, etc., are some of the oldest parts of the Scriptures...the ideas about who God is and how God works in these fragments of stories are much different than, say, the sophisticated/modern way in which a prophet like Isaiah thinks about God many centuries later.

Last year I took a short, "Cliff Notes" onine type class on Torah, Talmud, et al from a a rabbi, and one of her observations was that Jews -- even religiously conservative ones -- are much less concerned about the historicity and internal consistency of these stories of Hebrew prehistory than Christians tend to be...the Hebraic way of reading them/thinking about them/debating them is much looser and more playful, more concerned with the lessons beneath the surface of the text. (Our text for that class, Back to the Sources, edited by Barry Holz, touched on that same point.)

At 1/12/2006 12:35 PM, Blogger Badoozie said...

Jennifer, i just love you, your mind thinks like mine. not that this is a good thing, but there is someone else in this world who has the same sorts of questions i do.

what i've had to tell myself, is that whomever wrote the original text was God Breathed. I've had people come against the bible, saying its simply "allegory, and symbolism", and that since it was written by "man" then it is fallable. well, i've thought about this, and i've had to choose to disagree. I've had to "choose" to believe that it is God Breathed. It is only by this, that I am able to move past those sorts of questions, that plague my brain, and get out of it, what i need to. Thanks for your question!!

At 1/12/2006 2:07 PM, Anonymous Lorna said...

great stuff here

i wish I had some answers, not only questions :)

At 1/12/2006 2:18 PM, Blogger see-through faith said...

I think to make it make sense one needs to read background information too.

Dont be too discouaged that we understand less from reading fast - we'll have a better overview and I think that's important to have.

These first books are harder to get non biblical evidence but we do - I believe - need an understanding of the culture and the time of writing for each book, otherwise one can make extravagent extrapolations - like it's ok to pass your wife off as your sister, have sex with a temple prostitute etc. These are NOT chrisian values, and as the OT develops we should how the Law was designed to help the Israelites live 'better' lives.

It was a sexist socitey - even in Jesus' day - so the fact that Jesus spoke with women, ministered to them, had them (eg Mary ) among his followers is extra-ordinary. We'll talk about that more later I'm sure


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