Cogitation V: Is The Bible God’s word?

The Bible is not a dictation. Unlike the books of some other religions it has a different concept, and the concept is very radical. It’s rather an inspired collection of history, instructions, philosophical thoughts, letters, poetry, rap and prophecies. It also contains a cosmological narrative, as well as information on the extradimensional that seems like a Marvel other-worldly movie. It is important we recognise the CONCEPT of the Bible. The Bible has a concept. It’s kind of avant-garde. The Bible is like one massive movie production. Imagine a movie production over a long period of time. But the sets are in multiple locations, some out of this world. The compilation of those film reels over some 6000years is what the Bible is. We’re of course discounting the timeline in the first two chapters in Genesis. That spans billions of years; actually stretches all the way back into timelessness.

What makes the Bible even more interesting is that it’s mostly written from a human level. It’s like a camera recording on the streets. There’s a massive dose of human perspective. The elevated dimensions of the Bible are the prophetic declarations. Then there are those stuff in Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation – stuff going on in extraordinary dimensions. But even the prophecies are attributed to humans. For example the format for the prophecy of the birth of Jesus is a man speaking. A human is the oracular agency: “For a child has been born – FOR US! The gift of a son—FOR US! He’ll take over the running of the world. His names will be: Amazing Counsellor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness.” Isaiah 9:2-7 MSG.

The Bible is made up of parts. The parts are assembled into a continuum. It’s why Paul wrote, “Every part of Scripture is God-breathed…” 2 Timothy 3:14 MSG. In other words, scriptures are inspired. If you’re a writer you’ll understand how inspiration works. No one is dictating stuff to you. There’s a knowing in the heart, and there’s a fluidity to it. It’s how the Bible was written. The writers captured that “knowing” and translated it into human language. And so there are individual styles and expressions. Education and exposure also played a role. Traces of the writers are thus in the writings. This explains the different writing styles in the Bible. It’s why we see the personalities of the writers in the writings. We also see each writer’s level of education and exposure.

There is a significant difference between the writing of Paul and Peter for instance. If the Bible were dictated by one entity there would be no difference. Scriptures are inspired not dictated. Paul wrote like a lawyer. His letters had premises and conclusions. For example, he takes up an argument in Romans 1 and concludes it in Romans 8:1. It’s why Romans 8:1 begins with “Therefore…” “Therefore” is the conclusion of an argument. There’s a great deal of intellectual sophistication in Paul’s writing. It’s full of logic and extrapolations. He uses idiomatic antithesis in dealing with the principle of interpretation. The writing of Peter on the other hand is rather basic. Peter was not a learned fellow. The Pharisees perceived that much. Acts 4:13. There’s no art form in Peter’s writing. Peter would go on to concede Paul’s writing was not the run of the mill stuff. This was elevated stuff. Only sophisticated minds could fully appreciate it. Or grapple with it. “Our good brother Paul, who was given much wisdom in these matters, refers to this in all his letters, and has written you essentially the same thing. Some things Paul writes are difficult to understand…” Peter wrote. 2 Peter 3:14-16 MSG. Paul wrote for the elites. His letters assume the reader is well educated. His use of grammar is technical. That he wrote three-quarters of the New Testament tells us a whole lot about the sophistication of Christianity.

That the personalities of the writers are inserted into scriptures doesn’t take away from the quality of the power backing those writings. The power of scripture comes from the inspiration of the Spirit. It’s the puff of divinity that makes the Bible powerful. It is that divine energy that gives scriptures clinical potency. It is the inspiration of the Spirit – the puff of divine energy that turns the writings of men into dynamos of power. It’s why a man will read John 3:16 – about the love of God in sending Jesus to the cross for mankind and he’ll fall on his knees acknowledging his sinfulness. His heart is convicted. John 3:16 is energised by God’s Spirit. The word of God is laser. “God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything whether doubt or defence, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.” Hebrews 4:12-13 MSG. It is also that inspiration that converts writings made by men into God’s intellectual property. The inspiration came from God so God takes ownership. It’s why we call the Bible God’s word though written by men. Inspiration creates intellectual assets.

And so there’s HUMAN FACTOR in the writings in the Bible. That’s the CONCEPT of the Bible. It’s why it’s not full of dictations from God. He allowed human element to be infused. Makes the Bible relatable. We see ourselves in scriptures: “Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t—not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again.” James 5:16-18 MSG. How to reconcile these human factors with God’s holiness and still achieve inerrancy of scriptures is a conundrum for some. They wonder about stuff Solomon wrote – the bit about women’s breasts for instance… How could such be in a holy book they ask. How do you reconcile the holiness of God with the prurience of Solomon? But that’s the concept of the Bible. It allows a worldview through the eyes of man. There’s no photoshop in the Bible.

The realness of the Bible is how we got to learn about the affair of David with the woman who famously took a bath, Bathsheba. It employs a human dimension narrative style. The Bible allows us to peer into the soul of men, see the thoughts of men in technicolor. Some of the stuff Solomon wrote are quite graphic. Yet they’re in the Bible. Song of Songs for example is graphic in nature: “You’re so beautiful, my darling, so beautiful… Your breasts are like fawns, twins of a gazelle, grazing among the first spring flowers.” Song of Solomon 4:1-5 MSG. Solomon’s philosophical musings are also captured in scriptures. Ecclesiastes is full of philosophical stuff. Ecclesiastes is the inner struggle and the search for answers of a stinkingly rich guy as he ponders the purpose life: “I have seen everything under the sun. Look at it! It’s all pointless. It’s like trying to catch the wind.” Ecclesiastics 1:14. Solomon wrote as a man. He wasn’t trying to write “scriptures.” But those thoughts he expressed are nonetheless inspired. God is a real God who wants us to be real. He detests fakery. Once you dimension human factor into the reading of scriptures you’ll understand how the Bible can seemingly contain stuff contrary to science.

It’s the human factor inclusion in the narrative of the Bible that lays bare Joshua’s paucity of knowledge about cosmology. He apparently told the sun to stand still so he could complete his conquest. Needed daylight. People circa 1335 BC thought the sun rotated round the earth. That was the level of knowledge. That was what Joshua knew. And God refused to edit his ignorance out of scriptures. The key thing was Joshua’s faith. Joshua 10:12-13. But the fact that Joshua’s poor knowledge of cosmology is included in the narration of the Bible doesn’t mean God doesn’t understand cosmology. And it doesn’t mean “the Bible says” the sun rotates round the earth either. That conclusion is not honest scholarship. Stands to reason God must know cosmology, or he couldn’t have created “the heavens and the earth.” The Bible doesn’t photoshop Joshua’s ignorance. It tells us as it is. That’s the concept of the Bible. God understood what Joshua was asking for even though he was technically incorrect. And he granted his wish. We can therefore conclude God abides human ignorance.

Again we see human factor accommodation in the narrative by Prophet Ezekiel: “As I watched the four creatures, I saw something that looked like a wheel on the ground beside each of the four-faced creatures. This is what the wheels looked like: They were identical wheels, sparkling like diamonds in the sun. It looked like they were wheels within wheels, like a gyroscope.” Ezekiel 1:15-16 MSG. Whatever technology Ezekiel was trying to describe was way beyond the understanding of a 6th century BC mind. He described it as best as he could but he didn’t capture it. Only God knows what he was ACTUALLY describing. It would seem Ezekiel was talking about a merger of creature and machine. That is a technology we’re still pursuing in the 21st century. But unlike Ezekiel the 21st century mind would have used more scientific terms, you know, fancier stuff! But we will struggle like Ezekiel. This was space technology from another dimension. We’re nowhere near development of such technology.

Now, imagine the struggles of Moses as he wrote Genesis. He’s limited to Egyptian cosmology. “Moses had studied cosmology in Egypt: “Moses was educated in the best schools in Egypt. He was equally impressive as a thinker and an athlete.” Acts 7:20-22 MSG. Perhaps the “waters above waters” in Genesis is a reference to galaxies. After all our Milky Way galaxy is a liquid analogy. The ancients thought it was a river of milk. It looks like it. Egyptian cosmology circa 14th century BC had limitations. But many of the discoveries are still relevant today. The description of creation in Genesis must necessarily reflect the limitations of that period. It will therefore be stretching things too far to say that because Moses had 14th century cosmological understanding the Bible is a farce. That is bad logic. Human factor is incorporated into the narrative of the Bible. That’s the concept. Moses was trying to describe what even scientists today are struggling with. One would expect a God who created the universe to understand physical sciences. He could not create the universe otherwise. He’s not a magician, he’s a scientist. The universe runs on the principles of physical sciences.

The Bible also incorporates human convention in its narratives. Slavery for example was human convention. The Bible is largely written from the perspective of man’s convention. God abides by human convention, operates through them, uses them. He doesn’t discountenance them. Till today he abides by man’s economic system, monetary policies and trade conventions. Every covenant God got into in the Old Testament was predicated on human convention. Every covenant God makes with man in modern times is predicated on human convention. Same thing with war convention. God abides by it. In ancient times they had seasons for war for example: “In the spring, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, his mercenaries, and Israel’s army to war.” 2 Samuel 11:1 GW. But if David were alive today he probably won’t be referring to bows, spears and swords when he wrote that God teaches his hands to war. Psalm 144:1-2. David will probably say today, “God teaches me how to fire AK 47s.” He won’t reference bows and arrows. And he probably wouldn’t be talking about fortresses either. He’ll talk about bunkers: “Praise the Lord, who is my rock. He trains my hands for war and gives my fingers skill for battle. He is my loving ally and my fortress, my tower of safety, my rescuer. He is my shield, and I take refuge in him. He makes the nations submit to me.” Psalms 144:1-2 NLT. The inspiration of the Bible is what turned it into God’s intellectual property though written by several humans. It’s also what gives it power. That power is convertible. It can energise human situations.

If you’ll like to receive Jesus into your life please pray this prayer: “Father I acknowledge that I am a sinner, that Jesus died for me, that you raised him from the dead. Father please forgive me. I accept Jesus today as my Lord and my Saviour. Amen.”

© Leke Alder |

Inspiration creates intellectual assets. Click To Tweet God is a real God who wants us to be real. Click To Tweet The inspiration of the Bible is what turned it into God’s intellectual property though written by several humans. It’s also what gives it power. That power is convertible. It can energise human situations. Click To Tweet