Friday, May 15, 2009

On Inerrancy

This is a guest post by A.S. Of course, it is here for your comments and discussion.

The "attack" on the biblical doctrine of inerrancy is inextricably linked to the biblical doctrine of inspiration. Inspiration as "theopneustos", i.e. properly and authentically understood as the DIVINE union between "form" and "content", "medium" and "concept" is necessary to safeguard the OBJECTIVITY of the TRUTH of Holy Scripture.

Denial of inerrancy IS a result of the SUBJECTIVE approach to the Word of God. The hermeneutical model in this case is that of the SINNER standing over the Word of God as the interpreter, and hence he assumes and remains in the position of "subject". The proper hermeneutical model is that of the Word of God standing over the sinner as the interpreter. In other words, we are the object to be "interpreted" by the Word of God as the subject.

In this role reversal, two implications emerges:

1. The *words* themselves as bearers of the divine revelation is the LITERAL truth, in contrast to functioning as signs only. The "vis significandi" (mode of signification) is the "res" (reality) itself. Thus, the meaning of sola Scriptura is precisely the self-sufficiency of the EXTERNAL Word. The movement here is an incarnated top-to-bottom pattern, consistent with the formal claim that the Holy Scripture is the Word of GOD.

2. "Faith comes by hearing the Word of God". Faith is not external to the Word of God, i.e. apart from the Word of God. But faith is CREATED by the Word of God. Inerrancy is a faith claim, made on the basis of the witness and testimony of the Holy Scripture itself. As such, it (i.e. inerrancy) can only be grasped by faith alone (sola fide). By extension, the infallibility (authority) and efficacy (power) of the Holy Scripture are grasped by faith alone. The Word as the legal authority (Scripture alone) constitutes the co-relate of the Word as the evangelical power (faith alone). That is to say, faith is not a "discrete" entity consequent on "understanding" as an evaluative tool. Faith is not a posteriori (subsequent) to nor identical with an explicit analytic conclusion. It is an impossible scenario because of the "bondage of the will". But faith is simply the implicit synthetic presupposition to the Word of God. That is to say, faith means being "reclaimed" by the Word of God itself, according to *its* own judgment (spiritual-deductive method), and not vice-versa, i.e. faith means "reclaiming" the Word of God according to its own judgment (empirical-inductive method). Ultimately, our faith is not dependent on our understanding. But our understanding is dependent on our faith which comes extra nos --- an alien faith as a total gift = alien righteousness. Faith and understanding are simultaneous, not sequential. faith IMPLIES understanding. And faith as a total gift co-exists (simultaneously) with unbelief as a total condition: simul iustus et peccator. There is no middle ground approach to Scripture. Our bondage to sin simply and by default disallows a neutral approach. Both the regenerate and unregenerate encounter Scripture either in a mode of belief or unbelief.

If one wishes to speak of movement, then the movement is not the progression of understanding towards faith, but the progression of faith towards understanding.

"Credo ut intelligam".

Seen from this perspective, denial of inerrancy is simply the denial that Holy Scripture IS the Word of God. Instead, Holy Scripture becomes the means by which we *respond* to God's "self-disclosure" in the course of the divine-human encounter - the movement here reverses the pattern of Divine Revelation and Incarnation, i.e. it is bottom-up, a spiritual ascent according a "ladder scheme". But this produces only subjectivism, i.e. the individual-mystic type or communal-academic type, etc.

Ultimately, scholarly consensus (e.g. science), ecclesial tradition (e.g. magisterium), is elevated into a plus sign alongside Holy Scripture. Denial of inerrancy, to be precise, is a denial that the Word of God is the self-sufficient source of truth.

In short, the denial of inerrancy is BOTH a denial (incipient or full-blown) of sola Scriptura and sola fide.
11:57 PM


Steve Martin said...

In the begining was the Bible and the Bible was with God and the Bible was God.


The Word is inerrant...not the Bible.

God uses fallible means to achieve His infallible work.

The bread and wine of communion. The words in a book.
The man Jesus Himself.

I don't need an infallible book to believe in an infallible God.

Steve Martin said...

Just to avoid any confusion, I believe the Bible contains the inerrant Word of God, but the book itself is not, and does not need to be without errors.

L P said...


Re:The bread and wine of communion.

But isn't this in the Book and if the book is errant, what warrant for us to believe in body and blood of Christ in Communion?

I see this as a problem, philosophically. Is this not a problem here?

For that matter how can we believe there is such a thing as the means of Grace, since the Word is a part of this means of Grace. The Word of the Gospel is founded on certain things and I think such foundations when kick or reduced, make the Gospel of none effect.

I wondering how you reconcile this.

Or perhaps, it is not a problem to be reconciled?

Would this idea not be the reason why Lutherans are the least Bible reading Christians amongst Protestantdom?


L P said...



Just a bit of concern bro, have you become neo-orthodox or Barthian in your view of Scripture?

I ask because the 'the Bible containing the inerrant Word of God' is a Barthian paradigm.

This is way different from 'the Bible IS the Word of God', which by virtue if Inspiration is accepted, is to me correct.

Here is what one Barthian analyst says...about Barth's view on Scripture...

'By identifying truth with some concrete thing, we deprive the sign of its truth'. The Word of God cannot be materialized, The Bible alone as a written form cannot be the Word of God or represent the Word of God, because in the light of Barth's own complementary dialectics...the truth is not an objective fact but subjective inwardness.,M1

The result of this is back again to -- enthusiasm, evangelicalism.

In effect, void of means of Grace.


Xan said...

Are you arguing for inerrancy in the autographs? Or is there a particular version we have now that's inerrant?

L P said...


Good point and a fair question.

I will let A.S. answer the way he wants...

For me, I am of the opinion that the Bible as what we have now is propositionally, in content, without error. So I am not confining myself to the original autographs as far as content is concerned.

I will let that shock and choke people a bit, but I will unpack that further should you require.


Steve Martin said...

I'm a Lutheran through and through.

I don't need a perfect book as do the Muslims.

I have a perfect God and that He is enough.

BTW, if the Bible is without any errors, then I would ask, which one?

The Catholics have one, the protestants have one and the Orthodox have one.

Not to mention the plethora of translations.

Well then, which part is true?

It's all true. All Word of God.

Augustinian Successor said...

Inerrancy relates first of all to the non-extant (or non-existent) inspired autographa. Absolute inerrancy. The unity between form and content, thought and expression cannot be too strongly emphasised. The model here is the Chalcedonian Definition. Christ is both divine and human, is only one Person (acting Subject), i.e. the divine.

But 'relative' inerrancy is attributed to the apographa (in the MULTIPLICATION and TRANSMISSION process) -- the extant texts. Inerrancy here is derivative, i.e. based on linguistic continuity. The continuity between the original and existing manuscripts in the original language(s) cannot be too strongly emphasised. The multplication of the texts ensure that errors in one individual text can be easily corrected by the majority texts. Hence, there is no need to reconstruct the original text, but preserve the existing text -- the task of which is the domain of the priesthood of all believers (Church), not the exclusive provenance of priesthood of scholars.

Augustinian Successor said...

The idea that the Bible in its original autographs was errant is not found IN the Bible itself. It's imposed on the Bible from OUTSIDE sources ... science, textual criticism, etc. This of course undermines the uniqueness and sole/ self sufficiency of the Bible as the source of all truth.

Also, if we read Romans 9, for example, there is no distinction between God speaking and Scripture. And divine revelation is precisely not a-historical.

L P said...


From my understanding Lutherans believe in the verbal and plenary inspiration of Scripture.

The BoC is filled with quotations from Scripture, if they believed it is filled with errors or it can be erroneous I just wonder how you could believe the BoC to be the correct interpretation of Scripture.

Further, the Means of Grace. This is rightnow being weakened in many circles of the Synods.

So how do you support the validity of Means of Grace if the Scripture is filled with errors.

Ans further, I can also ask the same question of you - you said that the Bible contains the Word of God, so the same - which Bible?

Lastly, what about sola scriptura, if Scripture is authoratative, how can it be authoritative when in fact it can be filled with errors?

A Scripture that can mislead I should think could not be authoritative.


Xan said...

the Bible as what we have now is propositionally, in content, without errorEven apart from translation issues, and the differences among books included by Roman, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant churches, within each book there are often serious questions. Like which ending of Mark is correct? IIRC, the "long ending" includes things like being impervious to venom, which some (out there) churches rely on to perform snake handling.

It seems like your arguments for strict inerrancy fall apart here. If you're saying absolute inerrancy is required for Scripture to be true, then it must be absolutely critical which ending of Mark is correct (and I think John also has some major controversy). But it isn't absolutely critical, right?

L P said...


The fact that Scripture is abused is no argument for non inerrancy.

See comments of the later Prof. Bruce Metzger (a Reformed guy and not even Lutheran) why he believes the last ending of Mark is included in Scripture.


L P said...

btw, the late Metzger was an authority on textual criticism.


Xan said...

Let's say Dr Metzger is correct, and the "long ending" is the right one.

There are still churches and/or people who, for whatever reason, will favor a different (in this example, wrong) ending to Mark. Or who will even believe that it isn't critical which ending is the real one.

Does the entire Bible become worthless for these people? Does the house come crumbling down because of this? Or is perfection in the book not required to hear the Word of God?

Augustinian Successor said...

On which texts is the better and more reliable, the Byzantine-type is superior. The Codex Sinaticus and Vaticanus though date back to at least 4th century disagree with each other to a signficant degree and there are no other extant copies known. The 4th century of course was the period of the CHRISTOLOGICAL controversies.

Steve Martin said...


I don't think anyone(Christian) believes that the Bibl is "filled with errors".

But a book with 66 authors spanning 1000 years with tons of translations has errors.

So what? Do they change the story? The message? No they do not.

The whole Biblical inerrancy issue was raised in answer to modernism and humanism.

That I beleive the message is inerrant and not the book itself, only serves to bolster my faith, not weaken it.

That I believe that the Lord works His power and grace through ordinary means such as men, water, bread and wine, and the words in a book, only strengthens my faith not weaken it.

Which Bible is the true one?

They all are! They all contain the Word of God even though they do not match up exactly.

Did the Disciples receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, or in the Upper Room?

Does it destroy your faith that two writers say it was in different places?

It shouldn't.

Does it destroy your faith that the book of Genesis describes a flat earth?

It shouldn't. That is how the people of that time thought the world to be.

Christ + nothing. Not Popes, not decisions for Jesus, not experience, not inerrant Bibles.

L P said...


I think you may have not articulated well your position but I do get some idea.

Now on the BoC, what is your take on its importance for being a Lutheran? What level of subscription do you have for it?

The BoC is replete with Scriptural references as source of what it believes, teaches and confesses. You have to purposely take drugs or dope to miss this obvious fact; the BoC writers believed the Bible as the Word of God, for they appealed to it for source of doctrine.


L P said...


Does the entire Bible become worthless for these people? Does the house come crumbling down because of this? Or is perfection in the book not required to hear the Word of God?In Lutheran talk, I have heard of their theologians describe churches as not that they are not Christian but they are 'malformed'.

For example, take a baby which was born without limbs. The baby is still human but it is not normal or functional - this is obvious. Same is true with Christians who decide to believe things not accurately taught in Scripture, a Christian with some disabilities.

Having said that, the entire Bible is not worthless for these people. Because there are truths in there that are central that they might get and besides, it is God who takes care of making people to stand. Further, the Scripture says that there are things that Jesus said and did that are not in Scripture, does that make Scripture worthless because we do not know what happened to Jesus from age 12 to 30?

Inspiration says that this is what God has decided to reveal to us and it belongs to us and our children.

This is the reason why we do theology as a community so that each member of the body of Christ gets an input to our doctrinal formation.

The pastors of those churches who decide to strip for example the last ending of Mark 16 will have to stand or fall in front of Christ. Though I have no right to condemn since I am not the judge, I for one, will not follow their example because I believe they are mistaken.

Textual critics look at the psychology of copying text. For example they assume that the shorter reading is to be preferred because, they reason that copier is more likely to add than to subtract.

Now that assumption can be mistaken and may not be true in every case. It is possible that the reason a verse is shorter is because the copyist was tired and skipped some phrases.

I believe the Textus Receptus, the received text reflects Christian orthodoxy.

I say this because I went through the process of actually marking the verses that are longer in the TR than in the GNT and I conclude that those longer verses reflect the Church's orthodox angle of the Christian faith. It took me a couple of months because I can never be comfortable, I was a guy always in need of a translation I am at home with and so I got my NKJV vest NT Bible and started marking and comparing it with my NASB. My NKJV obviously has the longer readings because it is based on the TR and so re-reading those verse revealed to me that they reflect the orthodoxy of the Christian church - it emphasized the Trinity, it emphasized the forgiveness of sin, of faith etc.
(thanks for this, this deserves another post!).


Steve Martin said...


I believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.

Someone would have to be taking dope to not see that fact in all of my comments.

We were discussing Biblical inerrancy.

The words in the Bible may NOT BE INERRANT...BUT (!)...the MESSAGE IS !!!

Inerrant text, not necessary (if it were, then God would have preserved the original texts - I think there was a reason that He did not).

Inerrant message, YES! (absolutely)

Thanks, LPC!

joel in ga said...

"The Scripture cannot be broken" = inerrancy.

Which Bible or ending of Mark? The one providentially commended to the Church down through the centuries. Probably = the Majority Text.

Proponents of the varying minority texts generally start with the assumption that the worst reading is most likely the original one. As if the writers of Scripture were goofs.

Xan said...


Does it destroy your faith that the book of Genesis describes a flat earth?The position on this blog seems to be to deny, in spite of the text itself, that Genesis (and much of the rest of Scripture) describe a flat earth.

People seem to believe that denying a text says what it says is an argument for inerrancy.

Steve Martin said...


"People seem to believe that denying a text says what it says is an argument for inerrancy."

True enough.

The Bible ought be our source for truth in all matters of faith and life.

I love the Bible. It is God's infallible Word.

Once I realized that not every single jot and tittle in that book had to be just so, and that the Lord could work His Word and will through any imperfect means that He so desired, a huge weight was lifted off of me, and a stronger, more free faith emerged.

Thanks, Xan!

L P said...


The position on this blog seems to be to deny, in spite of the text itself, that Genesis (and much of the rest of Scripture) describe a flat earthSlippery slope again?

We deny scientific interpretation as a method for interpreting what the Bible says.

I do not deny that the Bible uses figurative language. But what controls the meaning of a verse is the context. We also must use parts of Scripture that sheds light on other parts of Scripture.

Refer to this..., it will not convince you but the discussion on the method of science I believe is fair.


L P said...


I love the Bible. It is God's infallible WordGlad that you are sober now (LOL). Because this was not what you said..what you said prior was...

I believe the Bible contains the inerrant Word of God, but the book itself is not, and does not need to be without errorsOnce I realized that not every single jot and tittle in that book had to be just so, and that the Lord could work His Word How do you square that with these?

Mt 5:18For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.Lk 16: 17And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.LPC

Xan said...


Well put, sir. That's exactly how I see it, but was never able to articulate it so well. Imperfect means are always used, from men who preach to water from the city's tap to bread and wine made from crops that grow out of the dirt.

We don't need perfect preachers, inerrant Magesteriums, or correct-to-the-least-detail Bibles to hear God.

Insisting on strict inerrancy makes the mistake of focusing on the edges of Scripture rather than the center.

Lito, figurative language is one thing. But it's quite clear that the Scriptures assume the earth is flat. And surely that's what the writers believed.

L P said...


The Bible speaks from your perspective as a human being. So in one sense, where I am standing, the world is flat.

I can even prove to you mathematically that if you are in a circle with a very very large diameter that if you stood on any point in its circumference, it will appear flat to you, that is why we have tangent lines on circles.

That is why context is important in understanding the Scripture.

Also Jesus said the the mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds. In what sense was Jesus speaking that it is the smallest?

But it's quite clear that the Scriptures assume the earth is flat. And surely that's what the writers believed.Since Scripture, by your statement above is assuming the earth is flat, and since you do not believe it is flat, then you disagree, by your own method, with the Scriptures, correct?


L P said...


Proponents of the varying minority texts generally start with the assumption that the worst reading is most likely the original one. As if the writers of Scripture were goofs.Well said.


Xan said...

Ah, so now we're allowing for nuance and perspective and appearance. Those things are good as long as they're not applied to 144-hour Creation, in which case they destroy one's faith.</sarcasm>

You've also asked a loaded question, whose premise I reject. Say I were, for example, reading a physics textbook, which described an experiment on gravity. People drop peanuts off a building and time them. The text describes their measurements, and concludes that: "the nuts accelerate downwards at a rate of 16ft/s/s".

You're casting me in the role of somebody saying: "No! The peanut is a legume, not a nut, hosers! This physics book is useless and WRONG!!!1eleven!"

L P said...


Ah, so now we're allowing for nuance and perspective and appearance. Those things are good as long as they're not applied to 144-hour Creation, in which case they destroy one's faith.I have always been consistent in saying that context rules and the types of speech rules the way the Scripture is to be interpreted.

When it is narrating then it is history, when it is being figurative then it is symbolic etc.

It is you who is an anti-24 for the sake of being an anti. You just don't like it because if you were being objective you would have an explanation as to why my exegesis of Ex 20:11 is not a good interpretation.

In this debate, neither you nor PE have given a rebuttal of that, in fact I even suggested how it may be rebutted provided you can muster the evidence for it. Yet nope, just the mantra - cannot be 24.

My assertion about your position is plain and I shall put it in syllogistic terms:

1. Scripture teaches that the earth is flat (Xan's analysis).
2. Xan does not believe the earth is flat (Xan's belief).
Therefore, Xan, disagrees with Scripture.

Can anybody tell me what unfair thing am I doing wrong in that presentation?

Lastly, I do not recall the Scripture making statements about gravity and peanuts so I am at a loss understanding your argument through it.

In Mt 13:32 Jesus said the mustard seed is smaller than all seeds. Science says that there are seeds much smaller than a mustard seed, therefore some NT scholars say Jesus was wrong on this. Hence, there are Christians such as the Neo-orthodox/Barthians who say that the Bible contains the Word of God but is NOT THE WORD OF GOD, because the Bible can be wrong in certain places, like when it speaks about things science contradicts.

All I am asking is what is your position on this?

We can talk about flat earthiness if you like next time also.


Xan said...

I don't think there's anything wrong with your interpretation of that passage, but I also don't see anything that requires 144-hour Creation in it. It's a mapping between God's time and our time. He presented Creation to us in terms of days, perhaps for the purpose of linking it with the Sabbath.

As far as your syllogism goes, you're wrong on point 1. I never said that Scripture teaches a flat earth. I said it describes a flat earth, that it presumes a flat earth.

This was the point of my analogy of the peanut in the physics text. The text wasn't teaching us anything about nuts and legumes. Much the same as the mustard seed; we're not being taught a biology lesson here. If someone were to disagree with the parable because of that, he would have completely missed the point.

What is your interpretation of the mustard seed? Do you redefine the word "seed" such that it's the smallest?

L P said...


I don't think there's anything wrong with your interpretation of that passage, but I also don't see anything that requires 144-hour Creation in itThis is quite weird statement to make. My interpretation says it is 24 hour day! You said there is nothing wrong with it and yet it does not require 144 hour creation! This is speaking in both sides of the mouth, or being forked tongued.

I think you believe something can be inconsistent and at the same time true, in places where scripture does not speak that way.

I never said that Scripture teaches a flat earth. I said it describes a flat earth, that it presumes a flat earth.Here you go again, if the Scripture presumes a flat earth and you do not believe the earth is flat then by all counts you disagree with what Scripture presumes! You are in disagreement with it. But why be defensive? You are not the only one who is in this position, just admit it and be honest. Bart Erdman is that way.

In Mt 13:32, Jesus was using the common experience of people in Palestine, by their experience, of cooking etc he was relating to their experience, by contrast, the point is the growth of the kingdom of God how it supports us.

BTW physics text books are not scripture and besides as I said, you interpret text of whatever sort by respecting language and context.


Xan said...

The words "presume" and "teach" are not the same. In any case, yes, Scripture describes flat earth, ancient near-east cosmology, and is "wrong".

In the same way that Christ was "wrong" when describing the mustard seed as the smallest seed, which is: in no way significant to the point.

he was relating to their experienceBut this is completely impossible in the case of Genesis 1. Sure.

L P said...


So Jesus was "wrong" at the mustard seed, so could he be "wrong" in John 14:7? If not, why not? When he said he would die and rise again, could he had been "wrong" too? Why not?

So the mustard see is not significant? Can you tell me why he had to use it in his illustration? Could he have used something else? So I ask, what else is non essential to your faith?

But this is completely impossible in the case of Genesis 1. Sure.I had been asserting that creation was a miracle, with God nothing is impossible. God was teaching us how and what it was like in Gen 1. Using our syntax and semantics.

Your bias is showing and your bias is for science over scriptural witness, it is all too open here


Xan said...

No... Because those statements are the point in question.

I'm confused what you're arguing about the mustard seed. Are you saying it is, in fact, the smallest seed there is?

Augustinian Successor said...

Dear Kuya Lito,

I have to go to Bangkok this weekend and be there for two weeks. It's an internship. This is part of my Master's programme. Have never been to Thailand before, but expect a good exposure to its administrative system. Am taking public finance this special semester which is very very intensive as it only lasts for two months. And we have to submit a report by sem end. When I finished my macro-economics exam on the 4 May, I had only one week of 'rest'!

I'll be back after everything's done. Please feel free to post the rest of my posts.

Keep up the good work, Kuya! BTW, my Creation and Law (Gustaf Wingren, the Swedish Luther Renaissance) has just arrived today, from Alibris!

I'm also taking whatever time I have to read on philosophy of science and physics. And Kuya, as always, we're on the right track!

L P said...


Unfortunately it appears that those who have been sparing with us have no inclination of what issues philosophy has with science, and so we got so many smoke and mirrors, a lot of froth floating on the surface.

God be with your studies. God can always use what you know to bless others.


Xan said...

Sorry to interrupt the love-fest here, but it seems that your position is completely inconsistent. You assume your conclusion of an error-free Bible, then you paper over apparent errors with techniques that you only allow to be used in places whose hyper-literal interpretation you disagree with, like the mustard seed, not in places where you agree with the hyper-literal interpretation, like 144-hour Creation.

Two questions:

a) How is any of this different from the geocentrism debates of the 17th century? Note: I'm not wanting to debate geocentrism itself, just pointing out that your arguments are identical to the losing side.

b) Who made you grand poo-bah of reading the Bible?

L P said...


I have not been answering your questions not because they are un-answerable. It is because you duck my questions and that is not fair.

At the present moment, I am still waiting for an answer to this type of question from you...

You said that Jesus was "wrong" on the mustard seed. If Jesus was "wrong" there could he been wrong in John 14:6? If not why not?

I am not asserting nor admitting that Jesus was ever "wrong" at any point in the Bible, you are, so it is incumbent on your part to prove why you are giving Jesus as an exception.

Here is what you said...No... Because those statements are the point in question.... so who gave you poo-bah the big bowana, the right to make excuses for Jesus when in fact you stated he was wrong in one place?

If I encountered you while I was an atheist (which I used to be) and you were evangelizing me with these answers, admissions, etc. I will find it hard to take your religion seriously. Apparently in your system, Jesus the Son of God who claims to be Messiah may be "wrong" in what he says and still be allowed to be deity in your system! So who is inconsistent here?

The method I have been saying is simply the respect for the language the Bible is using - looking at context and form of speech.

In my view Jesus was never wrong not even on the mustard seed! Because he is right, in the world of Palestinian peasantry that is the smallest seed they have dealt with. He uses as illustration something they are familiar with and employs them to make a spiritual point.

Your system of belief, you claim, does not crumble because of this, as you claim, "wrong" data.

Well. there is nothing in your system of belief to crumble because your system, does not have a "system". It is founded on mysticism and not founded on propositional truth.

arguments are identical to the losing side.?......

I have not studied geocentrism all I am asking is a rebuttal of my use of Ex 20:11 to show I am wrong. We can go to geocentrism if you want but from what I know, I do not burn people who disagree with me so try not to pin guilt by association, that is horrible fallacy.

It is bad form and I am being generous to you when I say that.


Xan said...


I think we're in violent agreement on the mustard seed. What he said was true, even though there are seeds smaller than a mustard seed. He's describing things from the point of view of his audience, and he wasn't delivering a lecture on seeds, he was talking about faith.

In the same way, the Creation story is talking to the audience of "Palestinian peasantry"; it isn't a lecture on cosmology, but it's about God and his creative power.

For reference, what I said was:

Scripture describes flat earth, ancient near-east cosmology, and is "wrong".

In the same way that Christ was "wrong" when describing the mustard seed as the smallest seed, which is: in no way significant to the point.
I don't believe the Creation account is "wrong" in any way apart from speaking in terms we can understand, which is exactly how you just described the mustard seed!

Basically what I'm saying is: Creation did not happen in 144 hours, and the mustard seed is not the smallest seed. So either the Scriptures are wrong about both, or in both cases we're being taught by somebody translating into our language.

So if you believe context and audience are important for the mustard seed, why not for Creation?

I didn't mention anything about 17th century coercive methods. Relax, I'm not accusing you of burning people at the stake; I'm talking about the arguments. And they are identical: the geocentrists thought that the Bible taught geocentrism, and that without it everything falls apart. They preferred ignorance over reality. Well, they turned out to be objectively, in fact, wrong. And gosh, the Bible still stands!

If I encountered you while I was an atheist, I would have concluded that being a Christian requires sticking your head in the sand like an ostrich, and would have walked away. Rectal-cranial inversions are not a requirement for faith.

Augustinian Successor said...

Xan is a fundamentalist in his own right. He keeps repeating the mantra of 'geocentrism,' as if that would disprove the Bible. He selects what he regards as 'factual' and the rest he relegates to 'myths.' How does he know? All he's doing is making the Bible conform to his mentality. That's is ALL. THAT is what it all boils down to, at the end of the day.

L P said...


So if you believe context and audience are important for the mustard seed, why not for Creation?Because I have several passages of Scripture that says it is 24 hours.

How many passages of scripture do we have about mustard seeds? Just one.

BTW, Jesus was not talking about mustard seeds in connection with agricultural science, so he could never be wrong in what he was speaking about because he was only speaking about one sense alone, so he is not wrong nor should we say (as you just did) "wrong" in terms of the smallest seeds we know now, why? Because that was not the context of his statement.

And gosh, the Bible still stands!Obviously you have not been around.

For people who believe it still stands, but the Bible has not stood for others - want some examples? And for those for which it "stood", faith has become subjective experience, would you like some examples?

Barth, in so far as his wrong analysis on the Bible carried to the logical conclusion consistently his belief, his neo-orthodoxy is not really orthodoxy, but false. In effect Christianity has been transformed to vague anything goes spirituality which is not orthodox any more.


Xan said...

You've now been beaten by your own latest argument: believing in something that is false (geocentrism) is a good thing, because it makes it more likely you'll remain orthodox.

I'm sorry, truth does not contradict truth, and it does not rely on falsehood in any way, shape, or form.

That pretty much sums up the 144-hour Creation debate. I wonder whether you actually believe it, or whether you've decided you need to pretend in order to stay orthodox.

L P said...


How is belief in 24 hour day creation geocentricism? I believe creation was miraculous, it was fiat creation not evolution that happened.

Is this not a sign of desperation on your part? Are we going to go back again to my exegesis of Ex 20:11 and put you on the corner that my exegesis was correct - you admited there was nothing wrong with it.

I do not think you understand what exegesis means, or if you do - it has no effect on you because you decide to believe anything the Bible says as long as you can make science jive with it.

So we do exegesis, I prove the correctness of my position and in the end you chuck it out the door run away and go to geo-centrism, just like what the cults do when they are cornered with an unassailable scripture, they duck, don't answer questions and throw red herrings.

So, A.S. is indeed correct about your position on this.

The Bible and its text has no relevance to your system, quite honestly, you say you believe the Gospel when in fact, you believe things that eventually will attack its foundation - the veracity of the Law.

I showed you how it is being attacked, but your position is - just denial, who is sticking his head on the sand?

Your position is lalalalala, I am not listening.

Actually believe 144-creation? Would I spend time arguing with you if I was not convinced by it, what sort of motive do you think I have? I was like, you, I have been there and done that, I did not use to believe this myself, but I reversed my position after linguistic and philosophical consideration on this.

Won't it be easier to believe like you do - it is rational scientifically, you can have your cake and eat it too, form a vague spirituality where Biblical text does not bother you, a system that allows the Biblical text not to be brutally honest? Do you not have both worlds? Why should I be seen as rationally absurd? I should join you because you are in a much more convenient and easier position to be in. You can swing any which way science goes.

But, may be perhaps you are not so sure what to believe? Are you absolutely sure it was not 24 hours? Are you absolutely sure God meant something else? So what did God mean? You have no answer to this question do you? You plead ignorance here, do you not?

By my analysis of Ex 20:11, I am convinced by that text that it is absolutely the way to read it and that is what I teach, believe and confess.


Xan said...

Be as convinced as you like. You're the one saying your way is the only way, and that it is the cornerstone of the faith, which it isn't, and it isn't.

I pointed out that when geocentrism was proven false, the Bible still stood, despite people who made arguments exactly like yours. You then said:

the Bible has not stood for others... And for those for which it "stood", faith has become subjective experience.

You have just said that true things are bad, and the cause of unbelief. This means that nobody has any reason to take you seriously, because (according to what you said) you are willing to lie in order to advance whatever proposition you are in favor of.

It is possible to learn something about the physical universe from our own experience. If you were to do exegesis on geocentrism, you would discover that the earth is the fixed, immovable center of the physical universe.

Go ahead and believe that if you want; it won't harm your faith, but it won't make you right. It would certainly make you more consistent.

L P said...


You have just said that true things are bad, and the cause of unbelief. ....rather than get angry at you, I am beginning to feel sorry for you...I am trying to be as respectful to you in spite of your lack of logical coherence in this discussion.

You have been trying to put things in my mouth for the last couple of comments now, a sign that you are getting desperate.

The Bible has stood for me because I believe what Jesus says about it - the Scripture cannot be broken.

For those who are trying to make the Bible stand with science, I wonder if what they have is an illusion.

Science is not equal with truth to me, it is not God and it does not have all the information. Because it has not all the information, then it is not reliable specially when it speaks about cosmology.

So this is where we are different. You treat scientific theory to have the right to edit your belief despite what the text of the Bible says.

Have you got I ask again, a rebuttal of my Ex 20:11? Was I wrong in deducing that by Ex 20:11, Gen 1-3 days are literal 24 hour days? You don't, in fact you admitted that it is correct and nothing wrong with it.

Therefore, if it is correct, that is what the text says and therefore that is what is to be believed.

So I was not being insulting when I say that you do not care what exegesis is, because you chuck the proof, the argument and turn around and say it could not be 24, because you decided it to be so.

In short you do not have a method of approaching the Biblical text, at least you reserve science a seat in your system.

Just make sure you do not believe in an illusion...

So I would like to sing the words of Joni Mitchell
Rows and flows of angel hair,
And ice cream castles in the air,
And feather canyons everywhere,
I've looked at clouds that way.

But now they only block the Sun,
They rain and snow on everyone.
So many things I would have done,
But clouds got in my way.

I've looked at clouds from both sides now,
From up and down, and still somehow,
It's cloud illusions I recall,
I really don't know clouds, at all.

Moons and Junes and ferris wheels,
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real.
I've looked at love that way.

But now it's just another show,
You leave 'em laughing when you go.
And if you care, don't let them know.
Don't give yourself away.

I've looked at love from both sides now,
From give and take, and still somehow,
It's love's illusions I recall.
I really don't know love, at all.

First I suggest "you've looked at clouds from both sides now", since you have science and Bible with tilt over science.

In your case Xan, you don't give yourself away - because you have no commitment on "days".

Also on the part --"I really don't know clouds, at all", you really don't know days (in Genesis) at all.


Xan said...

Yes, and Jesus saves people based on whether or not they "have a commitment on 'days'".

Look, I'm not staking my salvation on this. As I've said before, this is the edge, not the center. It's largely unimportant.

You're the one who has a problem with me, not vice versa. Fundamentalists like you have only been around for the past couple hundred years, insisting that everybody believe particular biblical propositions like this one. Believe what you want about Creation, but as far as the faith standing or falling with the specifics, no way.

Xan said...

I came into all this thinking of myself as a Lutheran.

Lito, you've got much more experience with Lutheranism than I do, and I confess you've really got me thinking that maybe I'm not.

But then, PE and Steve are both confessional Lutherans (right?) and they disagree with you, so maybe I am.

I'm just not sure that somebody like you and somebody like me could get along in church every week.

Xan said...

"It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation" - St Augustine, The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 1:19–20 [A.D. 408].

L P said...


You are a Lutheran if you subscribe to the BoC, and correct I do not recall it has any commitment at all with 24 day. Although I believe Luther does and the rest of his contemporaries.

I became a Lutheran after one year of study. I compared central teaching of the BoC i.e. justification with Scripture and I found them to be sound. Only then did I join a Lutheran church after I tested what it confessed in line with Scripture.

I figured I better not let what happened to me in evangelicalism happen to me again in Lutheranism, that is not checking and making sense and cohesion on what I believed in.

You are not saved or damned by what you do or don't believe about 24, the same way I doubt if the thief on the cross could articulate the trinity.

However, if that thief lived and started denying the Trinity then I would say he is making the God-man of Christ inconsistent and his logic of salvation becomes flawed.

There seems to be an attitude of Gospel reductionism, that is, just believe the Gospel and you will be OK. That is it, you got it and good. In one sense that is true, but that also makes faith a form of works.If you get the Gospel right, then that is fine, but does that mean you can afford now to get the others wrong?The Gospel-reductionists do not believe there are things that keep the Gospel together.

Re:24 hour day, I am probably a minority in my local church on this. My pastor does not share my conviction on this.

However, I am patient on others because I also did not believe in 24 hour days of creation too so - as I said before, none of us are born adults, we all walk in our understanding of Scripture. It is also a journey.

You may not get along with me, but surely you can get along with PE and Steve and they are Lutherans. What you should see is the reasonableness of people in the Lutheran church - in other words - their willingness to debate their differences and opinions. This means they are reasonable people also. Do you not find that a strength (though messy)? We have not yet all arrived, so the Gospel should predominate.

In this debate, I was careful not to treat you as an unbeliever and if I slipped on this, I do apologize for making you feel that way. I am sorry.

Lutheranism has a slogan 'sola scriptura'.

However, did you know they rank down the gutter when it comes to Bible reading? Why? Well if they are told by implication that the Bible does not say what it says, then they will let the Pastor do the bible reading for them, and they do...In the end they are not as effective as they should. So the pastor is left with a lot of work, that gives job security but it makes him a goat herder rather than a shepherd.

So I wonder why God wrote a thick Bible when all we need is John 3:16?

Do you not find that absolutely atrocious and crude that for a Christian group which recovered the authority of the Bible, they do not lead in Scriptural devotion and knowledge but on this, is right down the pile with the pooh?

They led the reformation, now they are not even known for it. In my church, I heard people say that the solas are now just a heritage, no longer a principle to live by.

Do you not find that sad?

I do and I am very very sad.


L P said...


Oh BTW, have a look at my latest post on what Godel might think of all of this...

If I can give attention to a bit of scepticism on science and in its methods, I have come a long way.


Xan said...


Definitely sad to see the solas reduced to "heritage".

And you have indeed always been careful not to treat me as an unbeliever. It would have been a easy shot, and I appreciate your restraint, which has been much better than mine at times!

Yes, Lutherans are quite reasonable, and actually I do think you and I would get along quite well in person. Internet debating has a tendency to dehumanize a bit, unfortunately...

You make some fine points, and no, I don't (or wouldn't want to) consider myself a Gospel reductionist.

One funny thing: it may interest you to know that on another site yesterday, I pointed out that somebody was treating science as his god, and he accused me of hating science! :-)

L P said...


I take note of Augustine.

I do not hate science, I just do not always believe it.

In fact I use its method in my work. When I am debugging a system, I had to form a tentative theory and test my hypothesis. My hypothesis has to be modified by the results of the test and it is a continued process of homing in. So I do use it in my work, that is why I am sceptical in using it in matters of faith.

We are gentlemen and Christians, we do not make our differences be barriers to the fun possibilities of being friends and brothers.


Augustinian Successor said...

Augustine did not believe in evolutionism!

Dear me, ... INSTANTANEOUS *creationism* is not the same with EVOLUTIONISM!!!

The church fathers were not evolutionists!!!

Dear me ...

Augustinian Successor said...

Evolutionism is recent in the history of the church. There were NO evolutionists in the patristics era. None whatsoever.

And dear me, Darwin only came into the scene some 100 plus years ago ... his predecessors only came into the scene 150-200 years ago. That was the period of the Enlightenment ... the period when the Bible was criticised, i.e. regarded as any other book. Where private judgment now meant that the sinner, in bondage to sin, sits in judgment over Scripture ... much like how the pope and magisterium do in the Roman Church.

Augustinian Successor said...

I didn't want to mention Augustine, etc. because it ought to have been obvious. JK brought that up, but I didn't want to point it out. Evolution introduces an altogether different thing into Scripture! It's based on 'science' but it's still flawed. Whereas at least instantaneous creation still maintans creationism!

L P said...

Well, AS...

When I was studying, I took Ancient Greek Religion as well, in Greek mythology, there is a belief that man came from plants or morphed from plants.

The idea that man was a result of morphism from lower creatures was actually a pagan concept.

Genesis on the other hand says in contrast that God created him in fiat from the dust of the earth. He came to being by his word and his breath.


Augustinian Successor said...

I didn't know that. Thanks for enlightening me, Kuya. It goes on to show evolutionism is PAGAN belief!

And why should we accept evolutionism when JESUS Himself affirmed creationism???

Xan said...


Augustine's instantaneous creation was exactly compatible with evolution.

First off, his instantaneous creation comes from reading Genesis 2:4, which, letting Scripture interpret Scripture, means that the days of Genesis 1 are not chronological but categorical.

He then uses the analogy of the dormant seed to explain how the universe can develop from that initial state.

This is pretty much exactly Big Bang + evolution. All matter and energy were created in an instant, with everything in place to develop from that initial condition.

This is a major church father who is 100% on board with modern understandings of the universe.