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The “Inspired” Word of God

While most Christians believe that he Bible was divinely written by God, some Christians that I talk to, reject the idea that the Creator of the Universe actually sat down and wrote a book. It seems that I am not the only one who thinks this is utterly ridiculous. If the Creator of the Universe did write the Bible, then it would contain far fewer errors and atrocities and hopefully far more wisdom and morality and would certainly be far more scientifically and historically accurate. So if these Christians agree with me that the Bible was definitely not written by the Creator of the Universe, then how can they be Christians who hold the Bible as a sacred book?

The claim is that the Creator of the Universe “inspired” it’s writing. What does that mean exactly? Gene Roddenberry inspires me, but I don’t think I am using the word “inspires” in quite the same way as some of my Christian friends. For me, inspiration is something that I think about which moves my intellect and emotion causing me to act in a creative fashion such as a poet being inspired by a sunset.

When some of these Christians use the term in relation to the Bible, they seem to mean more than that. They seem to be suggesting that a divine influence has been at work in the form of a metaphysical Holy Spirit which has qualified him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation. In other words the Bible wasn’t just inspired by the idea of God, but was actually influenced through the Holy Spirit’s interactions with men by God literally.

It isn’t that my moderate and liberal Christian friends think that some guys thousands of years ago were thinking about some vague higher power concept and then became inspired and wrote the Bible all on their own. These Christians seem to believe that the Creator of the Universe literally put the thoughts into the heads of these writers and so the Bible while physically written by men, was spiritually written by God… in part.

If the Bible were merely inspired by the idea of God the same way that Star Trek was inspired by the adventures of Horatio Hornblower, than the Bible should be considered wholly fictional except in places where the historical accounts are collaborated by non-biblical writers. People are then free to pick and choose (i.e. without contradiction) parts of the Bible they feel give them wisdom and reject the parts of the Bible which are immoral and silly. We would treat the Bible the same way we treat any great work of fiction.

On the other hand, if the Bible was inspired in a more metaphysical manner through some sort of literal divine influence, than we should expect nothing less than absolute perfection in every detail. This book should be the most brilliant book ever written and should not only be clearly written, but should transcend space and time the way it’s author God is alleged to transcend space and time. Either the book’s content should be the stuff which stands up to the test of time, or God should have added a “To be continued” clause at the end of it so that when we get to a certain level of wisdom, morality, or scientific advancement, God could guide us further.

The problem is that the content of the Bible does not stand the test of time and the Bible states that no additions will be made. This book is the end all and be all of God’s collective wisdom to humanity. So how do we deal with this obvious contradiction? Christians have figured it out. God despite creating humans in his own image doesn’t seem to have hands. So God send this Holy Spirit to indeed metaphysically inspire the writing of the Bible. The problem was that he had to inspire flawed humans and while God is by definition supposed to be perfect, it seems that he couldn’t communicate his divine thoughts to these men perfectly at all. So man’s interpretation somehow got mixed into God’s spiritually inspired magnum opus. To make a long story short, God wrote the Bible perfectly in the minds of men and those men fucked it up.

So what we are reading as the Bible isn’t fully accurate according to these Christians. The ideas are the ideas of the Creator of the Universe, but the details are a little fuzzy. Oh, and most importantly, anything that we as a society might consider to be morally repulsive that was written in the Bible was not God’s infallible morality, but was rather the parts that men screwed up. Slavery, stoning, mass rape, genocide, holy wars, etc. were not God’s ideas. In fact, if you read the Bible and find that you disagree with something, then you can rest easy knowing that God probably didn’t write that part. That part was written by some evil, greedy, self-centered, sinner. But if you find a part of the Bible that you do agree with… that was God… apparently.

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