Gospel Disproof #33: The Word of God

I mentioned in Gospel Disproof #32 that your salvation depends on believing what fallible men say about God. A Christian commenter named Eric replied:

Not at all. God has given us His supernaturally preserved Word which has proved to be a trustworthy guide for life and practice through the ages.

He is referring to the books of Moses, the prophets, the apostles, and the evangelists, collectively known as “the Bible” or “the Word of God.” For almost 2,000 years, the writings of these men have led and guided the Church in their role as God’s Word—even though none of the authors is God. If you grew up Christian like I did, it seems perfectly plausible and natural, but if you stop and think about it, it’s really a very peculiar situation. Why would you need to be led by a humanly-authored book about God if you had a real God to guide you?

At a few places in his testimony, Eric declared that he was in direct contact with the Holy Spirit, who is the third person of the Trinity and thus is God Himself. The problem, as I pointed out is that this Spirit can’t really do anything more than any other imaginary friend can do. He can make guesses about the future, to the extent that the believer can guess, but He can’t know anything the believer does not know. He can make the believer feel confident about what he believes, but He can’t really reveal what the believer ought to believe. Hence the need for some kind of tangible, objective basis for faith, like a Bible.

Think, for a moment, what role the Bible would play if there were a real God. Imagine God, sitting up in heaven, and calling all His angels to gather around His throne—but they ignore Him, because they’re busy reading the Bible to try and discover what His will is! That’s nonsense, of course. If you have a real God and He really shows up in your life to give you real guidance and teaching, then you don’t need imperfect translations of some ancient documents to help you try and guess what His will and teaching might be.

On the other hand, if you don’t have a genuine God, but want to pretend you do anyway, then an ancient book is ideal, because you can use the book to claim divine authority without assuming any personal accountability for what you say. Just ask Harold Camping. By displacing the source of authority to some holy book that you are studying, you get to claim to speak on God’s behalf, and if anything you say turns out to be wrong, you can just say, “Oh, I must have misunderstood that part, but the BIBLE is still infallible and authoritative.”

The Bible is a book that was written by men. More precisely, it is a collection of books written by men, and selected by other men out of much larger collection of books. Still other men, in turn, translated these books into our native language, while still other men assured us that God was busy making sure the Bible turned out to be just exactly His Word. And thus believers call the Bible “God’s Word,” meaning that they have put their faith in men: in the men who wrote it and the men who selected it and edited it and translated it and promised us that it was all inspired. Men, men, men, men, men.

Why can’t believers call the Bible what it is? Why do they insist on identifying it in terms of putting blind faith in what men say about it? Why do they ignore or downplay its human origins? It’s because they have no real God to lead them in real life, and therefore they need a book to lend them authority without accountability. That is why they exalt their own Scriptures and make extravagant (and unsupported) claims about it. If it were really true, they wouldn’t need it, because they’d have something far better in its place.


  1. sailor1031 says

    “…He is referring to the books of Moses, the prophets, the apostles, and the evangelists”

    Well Moses didn’t write any books; neither did the prophets as far as we know; certainly none of the twelve apostles wrote anything that we can attribute to them; I suppose Saul of Tarse counts as an evangelist but we can be pretty certain that much of what is attributed to him is forgery – especially the mysogynistic bits. We don’t actually know who wrote the bible. So where then is the word of doG in all this forgery and false attribution? Nowhere, that’s where.

    • Reginald Selkirk says

      How dare you suggest that Moses did not write the pentateuch, including the sections that describe events which occured before his birth (and some of them before the birth of any human), and also his own death and events thereafter.

      • sailor1031 says

        what do you expect from me? I’m just a doGless atheist who doesn’t think there even was a “Moses”….

  2. This Is A Turing Test says

    Answers in Genesis has, as part of their Statement of Faith, this:
    “The final guide to the interpretation of Scripture is Scripture itself.”
    Bad recursion.
    Then, later:
    “By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record. Of primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information.”
    Would not “any field” include their own, of theology? Since their theology is based on their interpretation of their evidence (scripture), is it not fallible? Unless they are simply asserting their own, and not the bible’s, infallibility, they are contradicting their own claim that only scripture can interpret scripture (which is nonsense anyway- how exactly does self-reference reinforce a claim to truth, or even accuracy?).
    Apparently, this sort of faith precludes any need for logic or even consistency.

    • DR says

      They’ve got an “out” for that: it’s called the “Witness of the Spirit”, which they will tell you until they are blue in the face keeps them from misinterpreting the text. They are “saved”, you see? So that means that it is simply not possible, since they are possessed by this “spirit”, for them to be in error about their interpretation of scripture.

      It’s an incredibly powerful thing, this spirit!

      You gotta love their sense of self-importance, no?

      • wholething says

        The Holy Ghost insures that all Christians understand the one Truth, so that they are in complete agreement on theology and why there are only 38,000 Christian denominations, not counting the ones that have died out over the last two millenia. If anyone disagrees, they are not a True Christian. If you believe this, please send more money to me than you can afford to send or God will maim your children.

    • sqlrob says

      By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record.

      Score! The Bible contradicts itself all over the place. Therefore, by their own admission the Bible can’t be valid.

  3. DR says

    It’s funny that “Eric” would bring up the Trinity, and talk about a “supernaturally preserved Word”, since the concept of the Trinity is one of those textbook cases of demonstrable forgery in the Bible. The entire doctrine of the Trinity, in biblical terms, rests on 1 John 5:7-8 (the “Comma Johanneum”), for which there is not a single source Greek manuscript. Erasmus, noticing the discrepancy, went ahead and INVENTED a Greek version of the Comma Johanneum, translated into Greek from the Latin Vulgate and INSERTED it into the Textus Receptus which became the source of most of our translations today.

    So there is simply no evidence that the Greek version of 1 John ever had anything resembling the concept of the Trinity. It’s a forgery, pure and simple.

    So much for God “supernaturally perserv[ing]” his precious “Word”…

    • DR says

      I should add that not only were there no Greek manuscript of the Comma, but the Church fathers, when they quoted that part of 1 John, never included the Comma. Which means that it didn’t exist when they were writing.

  4. jerthebarbarian says

    More precisely, it is a collection of books written by men, and selected by other men out of much larger collection of books. Still other men, in turn, translated these books into our native language…

    You missed a step there DD. Never forget the part where OTHER men for centuries copied the text by hand from one piece of vellum/parchment/whatever to another. Introducing errors in their copying (the existence of these transcription errors is not even in dispute – we have different versions of the same text across different copies that are still extant.)

    The only way that the whole “inspired and protected by God” argument that fundamentalist Christians in the US like to use works is if the version of the book that God inspired was exactly the King James translation of the Bible and only that version. That version, and none of the other versions, had his true inspiration and protection from the introduction of errors (amazing how God’s protection against error co-incided with the invention of the printing press in that case, though, isn’t it?)

    The idea that somehow the Bible was divine protected from error by God is out and out garbage. It makes no sense at all if you know the history of how the Bible was preserved over the centuries, and even less if you know the political history of how the Bible was assembled – especially the New Testament.

    • says

      Yeah, if it was divinely protected, then any attempt to retranslate or otherwise jigger around with the text would be met with a physical inability to do so…in other words, a miracle.

      …And which bible, of course. The Catholics (who invented the thing) and the Protestants disagree.

      Right there, that should tell you something.

  5. kraut says

    The word god that speaks for all of humanity as claimed?
    And those holy texts have to be subjected to translations by fallible human beings, with the attending risks of mistranslations, misunderstandings, misinterpretations?
    Should this fact alone, that this is a book not revealed in all the tongues of humanity but in the language of a small band of tribes, make even the hardiest believer suspicious about the infallible word of a god?
    Add this to the fact that this happened to all revelations of all gods, always only in the language of the people where the texts originated.

    What does this say about the universality of any member of the pantheon, when they are obviously only able to produce their original works in the language of the people they revealed themselves to?
    Should a god not be able to communicate its intention simultaneously to all humanity at the same time, to claim the title of a universal god? To prevent all the “misses” that are bound to occur because of the fact it does not?
    Is this discrepancy of the word revealed only to a chosen people not a source of political and ethnic strife that could have easily being prevented by “simulcasting”, by a god claimed to be any kind of omni..?

  6. Reginald Selkirk says

    God has given us His supernaturally preserved Word

    So it was God who hid the unorthodox Gnostic gospels while keeping the canonical gospels around?
    So it was God who inserted the Comma Johanneum?
    So it was God who fabricated the Pericope Adulterae?

  7. Reginald Selkirk says

    I would like to thank God for preserving the important guidelines for animal husbandry in Genesis chapter 30: the fact that you can breed animals with stripes and speckles by putting sticks near their watering trough. This gem has proved to be a trustworthy guide for life and practice through the ages.

  8. Reginald Selkirk says

    It’s too bad that God didn’t do a better job of translating Isaiah into Greek so that Luke and Matthew wouldn’t have had to make up that dumbass story about a virgin birth.

  9. Aliasalpha says

    God has given us His supernaturally preserved Word.

    So does Eric happen to know the MD5 checksum for the bible?

  10. sailor1031 says

    Zechariah 9:9

    “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

    From Zech’s apocalyptic prophecies about how doG was going to destroy all the nations around israel when he sent the messiah to town. Matt. is directly quoting Zech.

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