Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
The approach that God is not revealed in sacred texts would mean that the sacred text is being interpreted as fully human. They are completely dismissing the involving of God in sacred texts and is assuming that the text is written wholly by humans, therefore with human flaws. Revelation is communication of knowledge to man by a divine agent, and therefore in this case the sacred texts are the agent. The knowledge is supposedly passed to the reader of a sacred text from God. The stance taken by this quote is very one-sided and there is no way to prove that God is or is not revealed in sacred texts. However, I agree with the quote and shall justify and explain my opinion why God is not revealed in sacred texts in this essay.
The argument that “God is not revealed in sacred texts” is weak with no justification. There is no reference to a specific text and there is a refusal to welcome any opposing arguments. Someone could say with equal justification that “God is revealed in all sacred texts”, which is a fundamentalist Christian view assuming the text is the Bible.
A fundamentalist Christian might argue that when they read the Bible, they are influenced by God because he crafted every individual word of the Bible. This is a rather ludicrous view because texts do not have meanings, they have interpretations. Surely the readers of the texts are just making their own interpretations of the Bible which they claim is God’s influence. Each section of the Bible can be interpreted in many ways. I shall use ‘The Crossing of the Red Sea’ [Exodus 13:17-14:29.] as an example. 21’ Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided.’ A fundamentalist would say that Moses really called upon God to part the waters. God suspended normal physical laws. A liberal Christian would say that this event did not happen, but it may have some sort of metaphorical meaning. Maybe God would have been willing to do anything to save Moses, although he would not have been the cause for the parting of the sea.
‘If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved’, [Romans 10:9]. A Christian who it completely inerrant would believe this word for word. They believe that speaking ‘Jesus is Lord’ out loud would make you a better person. A doctrinal Christian would still listen to God’s message but not believe the Bible’s each and every word. The phrase ‘you will be saved’ can have vastly different interpretations. Some may believe that they will be resurrected but others may believe that it would help their chances of passing through purgatory into heaven. An issue with this is that there is no explanation as to how this repeating of words could possibly make one a better individual. There is no rational way that this could possibly make you become a better person. A fundamentalist Christian however would believe this order and follow it anyway because they will believe every command of the bible regardless.
“God’s word cannot be fully encompassed in human language; therefore, the Bible cannot be literally God’s Word.” This is Karl Barth’s argument, a protestant theologian. This is a more liberal approach to the teachings of the bible, God inspired the Bible and it would be impossible for God’s exact thoughts to be conveyed in our human language. If the Bible cannot be literally God’s words, then how could God be revealed to people in sacred texts? One may argue that it’s not the exact words themselves which reveal god to the reader, but the general meaning of the text instead. However, I have already concluded that the Bible can have multiple interpretations just like any other text, not a single meaning. What would separate the bible from any other book if the words were not influenced directly from God?
The Bible contradicts itself in so many places, it is completely perplexing. There are many direct contradictions which make it hard to believe some parts of it. For example, in Genesis 1:3-5 it states ‘On the first day, God created light, then separated light and darkness.’, which is fairly straight forward. However, later in Genesis 1:14-19, it states ‘The sun (which separates night and day) wasn’t created until the fourth day.’ This is a complete contradiction of statements. How can anybody learn morals from a book through god that contradicts itself? Another example of a contradiction in the bible is in Deuteronomy 24:1-5 ‘A man can divorce his wife simply because she displeases him and both he and his wife can remarry’. In Mark 10:2-12, the Bible states “Divorce is wrong, and to remarry is to commit adultery.” Surely if God was inspiring people to write a holy text that people should follow, he would make sure that he doesn’t change his mind halfway through. How is it possible for a fundamentalist or doctrinal Christian to follow the word of God if it is contradictory in so many places? A doctrinal Christian may argue that they can personally decide which of the two rules about divorce to follow but then the whole purpose of the bible is defeated in the first place because then it is being disregarded.
The Bible may be completely inaccurate and may have misled many followers, but there is no doubt that it is still a very important historical document. It’s one of the only lasting collections of the various books that were written so long ago. This is because the various books have been copied numerous times and translated by many different people. When it was translated from Classic Hebrew into Greek, it was not only translated by many men. This ensured that the translation would be accurate because every translator would have to translate it in an analogous way so that they were not accused of altering God’s text.
It has influenced so much of our history and I argue that it’s not necessarily a bad thing that the Bible is used today for teaching people to have virtue.