Understanding Inerrancy – Part 7
1 Peter 1:10–11
1 Peter Lesson #041
February 25, 2016
“Father, we are so grateful that we have You to come to in time of need. We know that there are folks in this congregation who are facing challenges right now due to the job situation here in Houston, people who are without jobs, people who are looking for jobs, and people who are concerned about how much longer they will have a job.
Father, we pray for them. We know that You will sustain them. We know that You are in control and nothing that happens happens outside of Your permissive will. All of these tests that come are designed to teach us to trust in You, to rely on You, and they enable us to grow and mature in our Christian life.
Father, we pray Your comfort for these people as well as encourage them and lift them up and that others in the body of Christ will come alongside to encourage them.
Father, thank You for the fact that we have Your Word and it is truth. We are sanctified by means of truth and as we continue our study on the truthfulness of Your Word, the inerrancy and infallibility of Your Word, we pray that You would help build a trust and confidence in our souls with what You have revealed.
We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”
Before we get started in our study and in relation to that you might as well open your Bibles to Genesis 1.
I thought I would just briefly share a couple of things. I think a lot of folks were encouraged this last week, if not surprised, when Brice gave a report for DBM talking about how much material is going out. One of the things he didn’t mention is that through the podcasts in January, he sent me a report in January for how many people had downloaded different files off of the website in the first three weeks of January alone.
I counted up and added about the first twenty-five. The highest was the Matthew file which was around 12,000 and then it was 1 Samuel which was 11,000 and something and 1 Peter which was 10,000 something. In these first three files you’re already up to well over 35,000.
As you just walked your way down even in the first 25 downloads you were well over eight or nine downloads and the total number of downloads if you added up the first 25 or so was well over 300,000. This just goes on for pages. That’s just the first 25.
I don’t know how many because I didn’t look at the whole list. This means there are thousands of people [accessing material on the DBM website]. That’s so encouraging. In fact, at that time the number three country outside the U.S. where we had downloads was Russia.
What did you say the other night, Brice? The top city in February outside the U.S. was Beijing. How about that? It’s just amazing. Then he sent me this file that ranks from #1 down. It goes to every IP address and where it’s located and how much they’ve downloaded.
A typical file is what size? The audio files are what? Ten to twelve megabytes. So someone in Blairstown, New Jersey downloaded seven and a half gigabytes. This is just in the last five months. So one person may go to the website at one time and just spend a day downloading a mass of material.
They may not show up again for another six months until they’ve listened to everything they downloaded the first time. So some people come and they come back more and more often. You have people from some really strange places like Moosup, Connecticut. Most of you don’t know where that is but some of you do. You probably know who those people are who are living in Moosup.
We have people from Tel Aviv, people from Modiin in Israel, three or four other sites downloaded a large amount. People from Sweden. People in Saint Lucia, two or three from Saint Lucia which was interesting. That was number 54. This list goes on to about 8,000 who are downloading.
When you get down past about 2,500 they’ve only visited maybe less than ten times. When it’s over that it’s at least 2,500 to 3,000 people who are making significant visits to the website and downloading huge amounts of data.
People coming from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, various places in Africa, a few from Saudi Arabia. I always assume those are Americans who are working there and things of that nature.
It’s just a tremendous outreach. Jamaica. Eurowagon, Australia. I’ve never heard of that place. There are a lot of unknowns. If you’re in a small place that not on a map, it doesn’t show up with a specific location.
Anyway, I just thought that was interesting. Here’s one from Lagos, Nigeria. All of this material streams out and goes all over the country and the world. It’s phenomenal to see how the Lord is using that and using the Internet. It is virtually another missionary outreach.
You should have opened your Bibles to Genesis 1. I’m just going to review you a minute on what we’ve done in this whole issue of understanding inerrancy, understanding how the Word of God came to us, inspiration through God the Holy Spirit who breathes out the Word through the human writers of Scripture so that God oversees or superintends or guides the writers of Scripture to record His revelation without error in the original.
Of course the problem is we don’t have the original. Someone asked the question of wouldn’t it be great if we had the originals? I think if we had the originals they would probably be pretty faded and worn out by now. The materials themselves just wouldn’t last that long. Then there would be the tendency to idolize and worship the originals and things of that nature.
Copies had to be made. This is what happened in the process of the transmission of the text in the Old Testament. In the inter-testamental period, we know that what the Jews did is that when they had manuscripts that were wearing out or wearing thin or fading, they copied them.
After they checked them and verified that they were 100% accurate, they would burn the one that was fading. We can have a pretty good idea. If you think about how many copies we have of other kinds of ancient literature, sometimes 600, 700 or a 1,000 years exist between the writing of let’s say Homer or Virgil and the oldest copy we have. We may only have one copy or two copies or three copies that are dated somewhere around AD 600, 700, or 800 and yet these were written about 400 or 500 BC and we say these are absolutely accurate. That’s the assumption of modern man.
They don’t apply that standard to the Bible. We get to the Bible, they’re going to have a different standard. They say, “We really aren’t sure.” Yeah, we have over 5,000 fragments or full documents of the New Testament. Hundreds of times more than we have of any other ancient document so we really can’t be sure? It’s such an irrational double standard.
The issue always comes down to whether or not we can trust the Bible. How do we know we can trust the Bible and understanding what the Bible claims for itself in terms of its own authority and its own accuracy?
If you’re not teaching verse-by-verse then you really have such a problem with context. As you go verse-by-verse you hit certain topics that are important in and of themselves and sometimes they’re important because of what’s going on, what’s trending in our culture.
As we hit 1 Peter 1:10–12 where it’s talking about revelation and how God revealed to the prophets who prophesied the Old Testament and how they had to diligently search and inquire about what it meant. Just because the Word was revealed to them it didn’t mean they thoroughly understood it.
That put us on the path of the Doctrine of the Inspiration and Inerrancy of Scripture. This is our seventh in the series.
Our definition is that God the Holy Spirit so supernaturally directed the human writers of Scripture, that without waiving their human intelligence, vocabulary, individuality, literary style, personality, personal feels, or any other human factor, God’s complete and coherent message to mankind was recorded with perfect accuracy in the original languages of Scripture, in the original documents. Not your King James, your New King James or your New American Standard translations. Those are not inerrant.
The Word of God is infallible. It’s an accurate translation in many cases but it’s the original that is inerrant.
Key passages that we’ve looked at many times. 2 Timothy 3:16–17 that Biblical authority is based on these doctrines: inspiration, infallibility, and inerrancy.
Inspiration relates to the origin of the Bible. God breathed it out. Infallibility relates to the authority and the enduring nature of the Bible. Inerrancy relates to the accuracy.
I ended last time with four corollaries that are so important. People don’t understand. The doctrine itself can be rather abstract for a lot of people but if you believe in inerrancy, you don’t just pigeon-hole it and say, “I believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.”
If you believe that it has certain critical implications and these are these four corollaries. Though every word is equally infallible, not every word is equally applicable to the Church Age believer. The Bible is written to different people at different times and you can’t read “your neighbor’s mail”.
You can’t go back to the Old Testament and read your neighbor’s mail and think it applies to you. It applies to Israel and their circumstance but it’s infallible and inerrant. It has implications and applications in some senses.
Second corollary: If every word is breathed out by God, then it’s the responsibility of the Pastor-Teacher to investigate and exegete every word. We’re to preach the entire counsel of God. This is a mandate that if I as a Pastor-Teacher have the responsibility of handling this Word. If I’m not getting into the original languages to the fullest of my capability and constantly pushing myself in terms of my own study and understanding of the original languages to handle it accurately, then I am a failure as a pastor.
I would suggest that about 90% of men in pulpits today are failures as pastors because they’re not in the Word like they should be. They haven’t been trained. We have too many sheep who don’t want a shepherd who knows anything about his job.
Third corollary: If every word is breathed out by God then that means the Bible is totally sufficient. This means you don’t look to psychology or sociology or any kind of studies on human dynamics to find your source of how you understand the Bible.
On the one hand you have so many churches and so many organizations who have affirmed inerrancy on the one hand but then they throw it away with what they do.
The right thing done in the right way is right. But the right thing done in the wrong way is wrong. So what happens is they believe the right thing but they adopt the wrong methodology and the wrong methodology destroys the accuracy of what they believe.
We’re going to see that tonight in some of the things I’m looking at.
We’ve talked about 2 Peter 1:3–4.
Fourth corollary: If every Word is from God to us, then nothing in life is more important than learning the Word of God and reading the Word of God.
I am so encouraged by the number of people who told me that they’ve started reading through the Bible on their own. You don’t know how many pastors I’ve talked to and communicate with over the year who ask me questions. The reason they’re having a problem even though they’ve taught the truth, they’re getting push-back from their congregation because their congregation doesn’t know the Bible.
They’ve never read the Bible. They’ve never heard this. Most churches and most Christians in this country operate on what I call “pop Christianity”. It’s things like “cleanliness is next to godliness.” They’re like Christians who think somehow that that’s in the Bible.
They think a lot of things are in the Bible. I got a question the other day, “The people in my church, every time they turn around, they’re talking about pleading the blood of Jesus about this and about that. Where did this come from? What does this mean?”
I explained a lot about it and he said, “That’s basically what I said in my Sunday School class the other day and they didn’t like it.” It’s part and parcel of this rancid, non-Biblical, evangelical culture that we have where people don’t know the Bible anymore. They’ve picked up this sort of cultural Christianity that’s not biblical.
Okay, moving on. The next thing I wanted to look at before we close out this topic are passages that are perplexing, challenging. These are the passages that are challenged by scholars. These passages are offered as evidence that there are contradictions in the Bible. They say the Bible isn’t without error.
The first problem we run into is understanding Genesis 1.
One of the things I want you to understand is that we have a lot of people who are educated beyond all levels of credibility today. They really don’t want to believe the Bible any more but they can’t say they don’t want to believe the Bible so they come up with a lot of ways to re-interpret the text so they can claim to say it’s the Word of God but it really isn’t the Word of God to them.
This is endemic in the New Testament departments and the Old Testament departments at most of the seminaries that have been favorites over the last 50 to 75 years. This is why in the last 20 years or so you’ve had the development of new seminaries, like Tyndale Seminary in Fort Worth and Chafer Theological Seminary.
By the way, things are really improving with Chafer this year. We continue to pray and we’ve seen a tremendous turn around in the income. I think that’s because we were able to get some focus.
We hired a new executive director this last year, Mike Riegel from Preston City Bible Church. He’s really been able to focus things and to accomplish things and move things down the road.
Once people understood that we’re going somewhere so they’ve been supporting it. We still need to think about having a president. That’s going to entail waiting for the Lord to provide the funds for that. That’s going to come and we’re moving in that direction.
There’s also another school in North Carolina in Charlotte. Southeastern Evangelical Seminary that was also founded in the 90s by Norm Geisler. Some of your know who Norm Geisler is. We used to call him Storming Norman when he was teaching at Dallas Seminary. He understands that there are battles that you have to fight and he’s not afraid to fight them. He’s probably in his 80s now and he’s still fighting the good fight for orthodoxy and doing a great job.
These schools have come along because the older schools have started to fail. We learned a little bit about that when I read the article by Bob Wilkin, “Can We Trust New Testament Professors?” He was a New Testament scholar.
We need to have an Old Testament scholar write one titled, “Can We Trust Old Testament Scholars?” The answer is no. Many of them have really left the field of orthodoxy. One of these areas we have is in the area of creation.
The creation account is really challenged on a couple of different platforms. The problem is that if you read the text at face value, Genesis 1 or Genesis 2 or the first eleven chapters, then you’re left with the understanding that the earth is probably no older than 4,000 to 5,000 years old.
One of the ways you reach that conclusion isn’t because of what’s in Genesis 1. I often hear people say, “If you interpret Genesis 1, you’re going to have to come to a young earth.” I don’t see numbers there.
If you interpret the genealogies in Genesis 5 and Genesis 1, you’re going to be forced to a young earth because there’s no holes in those genealogies. You have two kinds of genealogies in the Scripture. You have the genealogy like you have in Matthew 1.
Matthew has no numbers and it may skip two or three different generations because it’s giving the line, the flow of the lineage, down to David and then down to Jesus. It’s not claiming to give every person in the line.
But when you get into, for example, Genesis 5, once you start locking in the numbers you’re left with an understanding that you’re being given a straight chronology.
When you read that Adam lived 130 years and begot a son in his own likeness after his image and named him Seth, we know that this is 130 years after Adam was created. I’m amazed at how many people look at that and think it’s after the Fall.
What is one of the very first things you hear in the first day in Genesis 1? At the end of Day One God said it was morning and it was evening, Day One. At the end of the Sixth day [after God created Adam and Eve] then there’s the seventh day. How old were they on the seventh day? One day old.
How old were they on the first day of the second week? They were two days old. Chronology started on the first day even though the sun hadn’t been created yet, there was still earthly rotation and there was evening and there was morning. That means that once the clock starts it starts and you count.
That means they weren’t in the Garden more than probably seventy years at the outset, maybe eighty years. Why do I say that? Because Seth isn’t born until after Cain killed Abel. You can think that Cain and Abel were 15, 20 or 30 years old. Let’s say 30 because everyone lived a long time. Then that means that when Seth is born, Cain would have been born 20 or 30 years earlier.
There really is a time limit on how long Adam and Eve could have been in the Garden. No more than even at the outside no more than 100 years. That really limits it. You can’t ram, cram, and jam a lot of time into that. The Bible won’t allow it.
So Adam lived 130 years and begot a son in his own image and named him Seth. After he begot Seth the days of Adam were 100 years and he had sons and daughters. We’ll come back to that in a little bit. He had sons and daughters. All the days that Adam lived were 930 years and he died.
Seth lived 105 years. So if Seth lived 105 years to begot Enosh that is 105 years plus 130 years. That would be 235 years after Adam was created that Enosh was born. So you can pretty much figure out the chronology. I had a professor in Hebrew who had written his doctrinal dissertation on the Table of Nations, Al Ross, who is a world class Hebrew scholar.
He went on to write his Ph.D. at Cambridge on Rabbinical studies. I asked Al one day, “Are there any gaps in the genealogies?” He said “No.”
Exegetically on what the text says in and of itself, the earth cannot be any older than about 4,100–4,200 B.C. at the outside no matter what you do.
We have a problem with all this other evidence we have from the so-called dating mechanisms. That’s the problem that we have. Science goes out on the basis of empiricism, figures out what the various deterioration rates are in the various systems. Those systems are called clocks. I presented the data on this in the Genesis series but if you look at these various clocks they don’t agree.
You look at the silting, the delta of the Mississippi River and it’s going to give you one age. You look at radiometric rates and they don’t agree. They give different dates. You can look at all kinds of different clocks or deterioration rates and they give you different ages.
That affects archeology as well. So when archeologists are dating certain things, they’re looking at stratification evidence. They also use different kinds of carbon dating and radiometric dating to come up with their degrees. If their assumptions on the decay rates are wrong, then their dates are wrong.
The only thing we have to count on with certainty, if we start with an inerrancy supposition, are the numbers in Scripture. That’s why we say the earth was created somewhere around 4100 BC or maybe 4200 BC. There are a couple of reasons people go with different dates but it’s close to that.
It’s certainly not more than 5,000 or 6,000 years. It’s not 10,000 or 100,000 or 3 million years. You can’t get around it. There is a head-on collision between what the Bible says and what modern science says. The problem you have with any scientific basis is that they’re assuming certain things in evidence in terms of these decay rates that may not be true. That’s why you have all these conflicts.
When you have these scientific models that claim one age for the earth and one age for mankind and they date these various fossils a certain way because of the fact that they’re found in certain strata. They date the strata because of the fossils and it’s all circular reasoning. That’s going to set up a conflict.
So you have evangelical scholars who come along and the text forces them to a conclusion of a young earth but oh, the mass of evidence in science … “We’re just not academically respected. We go off and get our second doctorate or our first doctorate at Harvard or Princeton or Yale or Cambridge or Basil or Edinburgh or Aberdeen or Birmingham. We go there and we’re looked down on as these backward, frontier evangelicals who don’t know enough to come in out of the rain because they think the earth is a young earth.
They feel threatened by that so they have to figure out ways to somehow accommodate human viewpoint systems. There’s always been this kind of conflict. In the earlier 20th century and back into the 19th century, after Darwinism first came out, this was part of the rise of liberalism.
Liberalism came along and assumed science was right. You’ll see this thought pattern many, many times. We see it in this and we see it in other areas. They come along and assume science is right so therefore, the Bible must be wrong. “Hah, but we can’t lose Christianity. We have to save Christianity. We have to save the Bible.”
They adopt a methodology that they think will save some part of the Bible, the ethics and morality of Christianity, but what happens is that methodology ends up being destructive of Christianity in and of itself. We even see examples of that in dispensationalism.
A couple of the founders of the idea of progressive dispensationalism were professors of mine at Dallas Seminary. I remember them saying, “Oh, we just can’t really believe in traditional dispensationalism. There’s this problem and that problem. The Covenant theologians keep accusing us of this and that. We have to come up with a new method.”
Remember, I said a right thing done in a wrong way is wrong. What they’re coming up with is new methods. They thought they needed a new method of hermeneutics so they could save dispensationalism. What has it done? It’s eroding dispensationalism. It’s not saving it. It’s destroying it.
Progressive dispensationalism is so esoteric that most people don’t really teach it or don’t really understand what its impact is even on eschatology. So all of this is a result of the fact that people are depending on human viewpoint.
That’s their presupposition. They come up with some different methodology to interpret the Bible. You have this conflict in Genesis 1 in creation and also in the different details between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. We’ll get into that.
There are a number of people who criticize the Bible and say there are obviously different accounts of creation: Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 2:4 gives us one story of creation. Then Genesis 2 gives us another story of creation. They argue that there are contradictions between the two. I’m going to look at that before we’re done tonight, that there are contradictions between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2.
If I mention a name I would be shot down for just being mean and nasty and personal. You’d be amazed. I had a conversation about twenty years ago with someone who is now a pastor in this town who is pastor of a decent church. He told me twenty years ago that he couldn’t resolve the conflict between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. Your mouths would drop open if I told you who it was.
That was his comment and this is just buying into liberalism and listening to what they say.
Let’s give you a little background. I don’t want to get into the weeds on this because this gets really technical and it kind of turns my head inside out when I’m studying it. I know it would do that, would just scramble your brain. I’m going to try to just give you just sort of a very high overview of this.
Starting in the 1700s coming out of the Enlightenment period, which was called that in contrast to the period before that which was called the Dark Ages. Why did they call them the Dark Ages? It was an insult, a pejorative term. Back before Descartes, back before the beginning of the Enlightenment, everyone was stuck in the superstition of believing that the Bible was the source of truth.
The very term, Dark Ages and Enlightenment, are terms that have a spiritual and theological overtone—that we were in darkness until we discovered man’s use of his mind independently from the authority of the Scripture. So as the Enlightenment advanced from the 1600s to the beginning of the 1700s, there was an approach to biblical study that developed that was called “higher criticism” or “historical criticism.”
I didn’t make a slide on this but there’s higher criticism and lower criticism. I don’t know why they call them higher and lower. Lower criticism relates to textual criticism which is very valid. Lower criticism is that we have many copies of a passage. Some copies have one word. Some copies omit that word; other copies have a different word. It’s the study of comparing texts and determining which was the original.
We do that all the time and it’s a very good study which is very important and very valid. Higher criticism was also known as historical criticism. Historical criticism really is sort of an umbrella term for four or five different kinds of methodologies. You don’t need to know those.
One is called source criticism which is the idea that you have to understand that the Bible wasn’t written by whoever it claims it was written by. That’s the foundational assumption in all of these methodologies that the Bible was written by man. Therefore we have to understand how these men cobbled it together.
They came up with a view that developed through the 1700s of two different authors in Genesis. If you want a more detailed study of this you can go back and listen to the third lesson in the Genesis series. Two different authors came up with this. One of them favored the name “Yahweh” or Jehovah.
He was called because there’s this interplay in German between a “j” pronounced like a “Y” so he was called the Jehovah or the “J” writer. Then you had another writer and he preferred the name Elohim, the “E” writer. The J writer and the E writer. Then as they progressed they came up with the idea that there was another guy, another theme in all of this and that’s the person who is really interested in the ritual and the law and all of the sacrifices. That’s the priestly writer. He’s designated “P”.
Then there’s a fourth guy and he’s concerned about the law, all things legal. He was called the “Deuteronomist” or “D”. The theory became called the “JDEP” theory and is always referred to as the documentary hypotheses.
For many of you this gets out into esoteric ideas because you’re outside the realm of college or university. If you’ve got children or grandchildren that are going to go to college or university or are there now, they’re going to be taught this.
The first time I ever ran into this I was a freshman at Stephen F. Austin University in a Western Civilization class and the professor was teaching that Moses didn’t write the Pentateuch. He said the Pentateuch was written many, many years later, after the Babylonian captivity. There were these four sources and you had someone come together and edited them and cobbled it all together and that’s how we got these accounts.
They said that God didn’t reveal it. These were just these different traditions cobbled together and finally put in their final form after the 19th century. In fact, earlier when it first came out the authors, Julius Wellhousen and K.H. Groth who were the ones who formulated this theory in the 1900s as it had developed. They’re the ones that really made it popular.
Their original dates were that the “J” author wrote about 850 BC. The “E” writer wrote about 750 BC. and the Deuteroronomist wrote about 621 BC. and the “P” writer wrote around 570 BC., which would be during the Babylonian captivity. At least their initial theory was that everything was written before the Babylonian captivity.
It wasn’t long until you get in the early 20th century and the dates moved into the period after the Babylonian captivity.
Umberto Cassuto, someone you’ve probably never heard of, was a brilliant rabbinical scholar. He was Italian. He wrote a little tiny book, about 90 pages, called “The Documentary Hypotheses” which just decimates the whole theory because it’s foolish.
People who want to refute the Bible hold on to this theory, no matter what the evidence is. That professor that I had at Stephen F. Austin, I haven’t talked to in years or decades. In the late 80s I was back in Nacadoches and went over and had coffee one day. By then I was well versed in all this which I was not when I was a freshman in college.
He was just a committed liberal Methodist. He wasn’t going to pay attention to anything. Umberto Cassuto wrote this in the 1930s and here this professor was teaching something in the 1970s that had been refuted by scholar after scholar but they were conservative. He still taught it. It’s still being taught today in seminaries and in Western Civilization classes and in liberal schools.
All over this country, they’re saying Moses couldn’t have written the Bible. This comes out of this historical critical methodology.
Cassuto writes in his book that by the early 20th century he says, “There was not a scholar who doubted the Torah was compiled in the period of the Second Temple.” That’s after they came back from Babylon. Second Temple was completed in 517 BC so this shows that this was being taught before World War II. Not a single respected scholar is dating the Torah before the Babylonian captivity, not to mention even back to Moses.
Then he writes, “It is true that differences of opinion with regard to details were not lacking.” They couldn’t agree on it happened but they all agreed on one thing. It can’t be from God. I can’t be from Moses. It can’t be from 1400 BC.
Cassuto continues, “It is true that differences of opinion with regard to details were not lacking: one exegete declared this source the earlier source and another exegete that source; some attributed a given section or verse to one document and some to another.”
Some will say, “Well, this verse here was written by the “J” author.” Another says, “No. No. No. That was written by the “P” author. They couldn’t agree. They don’t apply this kind of chopping up methodology to any other ancient document.
He goes on, “Certain scholars divided a section or verse among the sources in one way and others in another way;”
“… there were those who broke down the documents themselves into different strata and others who added new sources to those already mentioned, and so forth. Nevertheless even though no two scholars held completely identical views, and though these divergences of opinion betrayed a certain inner weakness in the theory as a whole, yet in regard to the basic principles of the hypothesis almost all the expositors were agreed.”
They agreed it couldn’t be Moses. Their presupposition is that God can’t communicate to man. It’s anti-supernaturalism.
Then another writer, Kenneth A. Kitchen in his book “The Ancient Orient and the Old Testament” said, “Nowhere in the Ancient Orient is there anything which is definitely known to parallel the elaborate history of fragmentary composition and conflation of Hebrew literature as the documentary hypotheses would postulate.”
“And conversely, any attempt to apply the criteria of the documentary theorists to Ancient Oriental compositions that have known histories but exhibit the same literary phenomena results in manifest absurdities.”
The method destroys the text. A right thing done in a wrong way destroys it. You got to do it the right way. So this is what’s going on with higher criticism.
In the New Testament you also have a form of higher criticism that effected gospel studies. They said Matthew, Mark, and Luke are the synoptic gospels but there are a lot of verses that are almost identical and some that are different. They posited that Mark was the first one and Luke and Matthew borrowed from him and added other stuff.
I think it’s completely different from that.
Then they said they had an original source. They called it “Q”. We’re going to look at some of the contradictions when we get there, alleged contradictions in Scripture, like the differences between Matthew and Mark and Luke in different places.
See, folks, what’s important is that this leaks out of the seminaries. Some of you are interested in this. Some of you are not. I’m trying to just hit the high points. I’m showing you how important this is.
Just to tell you a little story: Years ago Pam and I went on a trip to Greece and Turkey with Ed Hinson and Tim LaHaye. Ed Hinson, of course at that time, was assistant to the dean at Liberty University, who was Jerry Falwell. We had a great time on the trip. Tommy Ice had his iPod with him [this was before iPhones]. He always had his iPod earbuds in. Whenever we were on the bus and going places, he was always listening to his iPod.
Hinson was sitting on the bus and he said, “Tommy what are you listening to all the time?”
Tommy said, “I’m listening to Robby’s Genesis series.”
They got in a conversation later on and Tommy said, “You know, Robby just gave the greatest talk about the documentary hypotheses to his congregation.”
Hinson said, “Why would you want to teach your congregation that?”
Tommy said, “If pastors don’t train their congregations in these areas, who is going to do it? Their kids are going to go off to school and get slaughtered in the classroom.”
Ed didn’t have an answer to that.
That’s why this is important. It has to be taught and it should be taught from the pulpit. The fact that it’s never taught from the pulpit is one reason that 90% of kids who grew up in Sunday School classes in American evangelical churches throw away their Christian faith within three months of going to college. They’re not given a foundation and the intellectual ammunition to handle the assaults when they get into the classroom.
One form of historical criticism is called source criticism. Another form is called form criticism, which will break down the sections of Scripture into subsections and then it looks at these subsections like Genesis 1 or Genesis 2 and it assigns to them certain literary genre.
Before we ever study the text we’re really assigning it genre and then that genre determines how we interpret the text. For example, I mentioned that a few times when we went through Revelation is that there is an extra-biblical category or type of literature that mimics prophetic stuff in Daniel and some of the other passages in Ezekiel and Isaiah. But it’s not the same. It’s not prophetic literature.
Scholars call it apocalyptic literature. I remember when Andy Woods was going through his doctoral program at Dallas Seminary and was taking a hermeneutics course with one of the professors there. It was all about genre. You had to understand the genre because that determined how you interpreted it.
That’s a way to avoid the literal, historical, grammatical interpretation of Scripture. The big thing was that you had to interpret Revelation as apocalyptic literature. If apocalyptic literature is an extra-biblical or non-biblical category and you come and impose that on the Bible, you’re going to misinterpret the Bible.
This is exactly what has happened. You have this apocalyptic genre category. You have this category of origin stories. You have a category of legends and myths. I can see now we’re not going to get into the New Testament but all of this important because of what’s happening here and now.
This isn’t off in some ivory tower somewhere. This is just the background to orient you to what’s going on, that these methodologies that are not biblical are used to re-interpret the text. The problems are the methods themselves.
One of the things they come up with is that Genesis 1 and 2 are origin genre and they’re poetry. Now much of the Old Testament is written in poetry but that doesn’t mean it’s not still history in poetic format. They assume that if it’s poetry that excludes it from being historical.
What they’re trying to do, folks, is to dehistoricize [that’s a good word for your crossword puzzle] the text. They say it isn’t talking about history. If Genesis 1 and 2 are not talking about history, about real history with real people, then you can believe it and you can even say it’s inerrant, but it doesn’t have to be true because it’s not written in an historical genre because it’s poetry.
See how they’re trying to get around this. They use this historical critical methodology and they impose this on the text. They look at this and they say these are different things.
Let’s just look at one of their claims. The claim is that there is an inconsistency between the accounts in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. Genesis 1, for example says you have vegetation appearing on the third day. This is in Genesis 1:11. We’ll start at the beginning of the day in Genesis 1:9, “God said, ‘Let the waters of the heavens be gathered together in one place and let the dry land appear. And it was so. God called the dry land earth and the gathering together of the water he called seas and God saw that it was good.”
Then the alleged conflict starts in Genesis 1:1l–12, “Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on and earth’; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.”
Now they come along and they say that it’s the third day. They say, “See, God creates this on the third day. He doesn’t create man until the sixth day. But in Genesis 2, we read starting in verse 4 [actually the creation story ends in verse 3], “… in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens”. This is a summary statement.
Genesis 2:5 says, “Before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground;” This is describing the status before there was a man.
That’s what it says. Before there was a man to till the ground. “But a mist went up from the ground, watered the whole face of the ground and the Lord formed man of the dust of the ground.”
This is summarizing what the conditions were on the earth before God created man. It’s talking about the plants of the field. These were the plants that were agricultural that needed the tilling of man. There are two categories of vegetation. Vegetation that God created on the third day. He also put seeds in the ground that were dependent upon man before it would start to produce.
In terms of summarizing this, Genesis 2 is designed to add detail and supplement and expand the account of the six days of creation that’s described in Genesis 1. It’s not a conflict. It’s an expansion and supplementation. In Genesis 1:26–27 the creation of mankind as both male and female is summarized. The details are given in Genesis 2.
In Genesis 1:26–27 God says, “Let Us make man in our image, according to Our likeness. So God created man in His own image and in the image of God He created them, male and female He created them.” That’s not giving the details. It’s just summarizing what happened on the sixth day.
Genesis 2:5 is describing specific vegetation that is related to cultivated vegetation that would be dependent upon the work of man in tilling the soil. Genesis 2:4, as I explained, takes us back to the day the Lord made the heavens and the earth before any plant of the field was on the earth and before any herb of the field had grown.
The Lord God had not caused it to rain yet. This is before the work of the third day began. Verse 4 describes details about the nature of the hydrological system of that period. The sprouting of certain kinds of vegetation was retarded due to its dependence upon man’s agricultural work.
There’s no conflict there if you’re willing to take the time to understand how the text complements each other. If your assumption is that no, this is just man’s work, then that’s what you’re going to see.
A second problem people bring up is where in the world did Cain get his wife? Who did Cain marry? So we’re told that Adam and Eve had two sons initially. They had Cain and Abel. We’re not told about other brothers and sisters but in the genealogies in Genesis 5 we’re told they had other brothers and sisters. That’s what I read earlier.
After Adam begat Seth in Genesis 5:4, Adam had sons and daughters. They married each other. People say, “Oh, that’s terrible. That’s incest. How in the world could God let that happen?”
The reason incest is a problem is because when two people who are closely related genetically then they can have offspring that have all kinds of problems. We all joke about certain parts of the country where the family trees don’t fork. The IQs aren’t very high.
There’s one joke about a couple of people from Arkansas [I like Arkansas] who went to California. So they were out there for five years. They went to a judge to get a divorce. When they got a divorce they asked the judge, “Now that’s we’re divorced we’re not husband and wife but are we still brother and sister?” We have all heard jokes like that.
It’s not because there’s something inherently wrong with a brother and sister getting married because that’s not prohibited in Scripture until you get to the Mosaic Law. The reason is that God built into Adam and Eve this huge gene pool. Until the gene pool gets spread out and minimized, it’s not a problem. You have so much genetic possibility between a brother and a sister that it’s not going to cause problems.
It’s not prohibited in the Law until you get down to the Mosaic Law because you’ve narrowed the gene pool so much that now you’re going to start having a lot of problems.
Abraham was only telling a half truth when he told Abimelech that Sarai was his sister. She was his half-sister. You have this all the way through Scripture. This is not a problem and is not a conflict even as you go through the early part of Genesis where it happened.
Another example of an alleged conflict is Numbers 25:9 compared to 1 Corinthians 10:8. Numbers 25:9 [you might want to turn there and make some notes if you want to be able to handle this later] is talking about that prophet from the Mesopotamia area, Balaam, and the plague that follows after he tells the Moabites to allow their women to go out and seduce the Israelites. They seduce them into the worship of Baal. As a result of that God brings a judgment on the Israelites.
The text in Numbers 25:9 says that twenty-four thousand were killed in that plague.
In 1 Corinthians 10:8 when Paul is summarizing it he says, “Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell;”
Wait a minute. There’s a conflict in the Scripture. No, there isn’t. Numbers 25:9 is giving a total number that is beyond the number who died in one day. Paul is saying that in one day twenty-three thousand died. It’s very possible that in another day another thousand died. It’s not a conflict.
There are ways to understand and explain the text where there’s not a conflict.
Another example of an Old Testament conflict is in 2 Samuel 24:1 in comparison with 1 Chronicles 21:1 when David sinned against the Lord by having a census and a numbering of the people. We’re told in 2 Samuel 24:1 that “The anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, ‘Go, number Israel and Judah.’ ” That verse seems to indicate that God is the one instigating this.
1 Chronicles 21:1 talking about the same event says, “Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel.” This is probably very close to kind of situation that we have in 1 Kings 22 where you have this Micaiah, this prophet, who comes to Ahab. Ahab wants justification to go into battle with Jehoshaphat against the Syrians and so all the prophets who are “yes men” trot out and tell him the Lord wants him to do this. Finally Ahab says, “I just want someone who will tell me what God really says.”
Micaiah comes out and he’s very sarcastic and says, “The Lord’s going to give you victory.”
Ahab says, “Just tell me the truth. I know that’s not what God said.”
Micaiah tells him that he saw in the heavens all the sons of god which would include the demons, fallen angels as well as the elect angels. God says, “Who is going to go forth and be a deceiving spirit for me in the mouth of these prophets?”
One of the fallen angels says he’ll go. We see the interplay there between God’s permissive will and directive will there when he’s bringing judgment against Israel. God is the one who ultimately allows this deception and is using this deception to bring judgment on Israel and the fact it is a demon who goes and deceives.
We have the same thing that happens. God is the one who is behind it in terms of His permissive will. God uses the demon and Satan to accomplish His task in teaching and instructing just as He allowed a messenger of Satan, literally an angel of Satan in the text, to torment Paul. There’s no conflict here whatsoever.
Those who believe in the error of the Bible always bring out this example.
I want to give you one more example. This is an interesting one.
2 Chronicles 4:2 describes the laver outside the Temple. “Then he made the Sea of cast bronze, ten cubits from one brim to the other.” If you assume an 18” cubit, this would be 540 inches. “It was completely round. Its height was five cubits, and a line of thirty cubits measured its circumference.”
Thirty cubits if we multiply that by pi, which is 3.1459 then we come out with a circumference of 565 inches. “Oh, the Bible’s wrong. There’s an error there.”
The difference is that the diameter is measuring from outside to outside. The circumference is measuring the inner rim. So they are not measuring the same thing. This way you can easily reconcile the two different measurements. The inside diameter would be ten cubits or 180 inches minus the two handbreadths which is the width of it which would be eight inches and then you come out with the same number on both sides.
That’s just an example of some different things that are brought out to point out that there are errors in the Bible.
Next time we’re going to look at some New Testament passages and there’s one situation that’s occurring that actually has relevance for Houston, Texas because the man, the professor, the scholar, who is the cause of this enormous uproar is now teaching at Houston Baptist University. The President of Houston Baptist said, “He’s such a godly man. He defends the orthodoxy in Scripture.”
But he’s a heretic. He got fired from about three different seminaries and a couple of organizations over a period of two or three years because of his positions and then Houston Baptist University picked him up. So we’ll look at that because that is a current situation still causing a lot of waves.
It’s all related to what I talked about earlier. Historical criticism. Then we’re going to bring up some other things because I want to point out how some of this has infiltrated, which we know from Wilkin’s article, New Testament departments.
We have to be prepared to answer these things. Peter said we have to be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us. There are a lot of tools, a lot of books out that deal with these issues that you can consult. I’m just sort of giving you the quick version.
“Father, thank You for this time that we’ve had to be reminded that Your Word is accurate. That it does not contradict itself. Even though an initial superficial look or a glance at a passage may indicate a conflict or disagreement we know that when we study it more fully in detail and really come to understand it, that there aren’t conflicts.
Even in those few cases where we’re not sure we know that it’s not a problem with the text. It’s just our problem of understanding all of the details surrounding the text.
Father, we pray that we might have confidence in Your Word that no matter what happens, we fully trust it. We believe it’s sufficient and we rely on You no matter what circumstances are taking place in our lives. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”