As I've stated many times before, if I believe in anything with every ounce of my being it is that man is capable of making mistakes. With this humble approach to our fallibility how then do we reconcile the view that the "infallible and inerrant" Bible was penned, edited, arranged, and transmitted by the hand of Man? Should we even try to reconcile these two points or simply look at our freshly assembled Bible with new eyes?
A question arises for those who transcend the notion of an infallible Bible: what do we do now? For those who are open to the concept that mankind is fallible and that we might have made a mistake somewhere along the history of the Bible, what do we do with this man-made work?
- We could, as some have, toss the whole thing out and refuse to associate with the divine in anyway. If God can't hire decent secretaries to pen down his Word then there is no need to waste any more time.
- We could try to "fix" these errors by attempting to explain them away, harmonize the gospels, or even completely ignore the facts in front of us. (Ex. Out of the 5700 surviving Greek manuscripts, no two are exactly alike. How do we we pick out the most reliable copies?)
- We can keep the understanding that the Bible, as a man-made text, is capable of fallibility and continue to draw spiritual wisdom and guidance as citizens of the 21st century.
I believe that the Bible is a diary of humanity's struggle with itself and the Divine. It can be read as a reminder of who we were and even what we're capable of becoming (both good and bad). The Bible is NOT a user-friendly guide to life but we have to dig out and interpret the meaning behind the text and then struggle with that meaning. As 21st century Christians how do we interpret and apply that meaning to our increasingly interconnected lives? How do we handle 21st century issues that the Bible doesn't even touch? We should never be completely satisfied with the answers to our questions without having more questions spring up. It is the struggle to live in the mystery without being consumed by or driven away by it. What do we gain by all this questioning, challenging, and struggling? To understand, know, and love ourselves, one another, and God.