First - SoCoNative, I'm so sorry for taking so long to get back with you. It seems as though my job may have sucked up all the time I normally spent browsing the internet.
Some of the ideas, like the golden rule, aren't tied to historical events. But God's plan of salvation unfolded through history--starting with the fall, through God setting aside a specific nation for Himself and revealing Himself to them, and Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. God could have given us a theological textbook, but instead He gave us a book that probably has more history than straight theology in it. So yes, the truths in Scripture do have timeless significance, but they're also tied to temporal events. I don't see why God would give us a book grounded in history without ensuring that the history was accurate (of course, I don't see why God would do lots of things… I guess what I don't see is why we would assume that He's given us an inaccurate book when He's perfectly able to give us an accurate one).
Perhaps I should clarify: I'm not assuming that the Bible is full of inaccuracies. It may very well be a verbally inerrant book. However, I also don't think it has to be
verbally inerrant in order to be sufficient for the business of salvation. To phrase this in another manner, I believe that God may have made the Bible in accordance with verbal plenary inspiration, but also that it wouldn't contradict scripture or undermined the Christian faith if He chose to make it in accordance with a different type of inspiration. Does that make sense? :)
Another thing that makes me uncomfortable with saying that the history and science aren't entirely accurate is that it seems to make a distinction between spiritual truth and historical or scientific truth. Specifically, separating spiritual truths from the accuracy of historical facts makes spiritual things subjective and completely distinct from the objective realms of science and history.
That is an interesting point, although I would have to disagree with your basic assumptions. In my opinion (and this is merely an opinion), spiritual is far more objective than scientific or historical truth, because the former is intrinsically prescriptive, while the latter two are descriptive.
To phrase that in english, both scientific and historical truth are based upon observation, which is intrinsically subjective: we observe something (either a scientific anomaly or a historical event), we deduce facts about that something, and we formulate theories about what actually occurred. The problem with this is that it often results in a nimrod of equally factual theories. Now, obviously, as we gain more facts we'll be able to narrow down the number of legitimate theories until there is but one remaining. However, that's not always possible, and when it's not possible it opens the door to having a large number of equally valid beliefs coexisting. To use a scriptural example, what where the disciples thinking when they first cast down their nets to follow Jesus? We aren't explicitly told in scripture what they thought, only that they instantly cast down their nets. This lack of historical facts gives rise to a large number of perfectly factual theories about what they thought, and no legitimate way to determine which one is actually true (this, it should be mentioned, is hardly the only case this occurs in scripture. The Bible rarely provides us with every possible conceivable historical detail, resulting in a large number of historically viable theories regarding the same events being bounced around).
Spiritual truth, on the other hand, is far more objective. After all, God tells us right off the bat which one of the numerous theories is correct, which means that we don't have to figure it out using observation. So, I guess you could say I'm fine with drawing a distinction between historical/scientific truth and spiritual truth because I really do think that they are distinct forms of truth. Or at least, so I'd assume. I have no idea if the previous two paragraphs make a lick of grammatical or logical sense at this point, I'm afraid. XD
Second, inspiration seems a lot more squishy if you say that the general ideas, not specific words are inspired. There seems to be much more leeway for coming up with all sorts of interpretations… but maybe I'm making too big a deal of it.
Hm...to be perfectly honest, I would argue that the exact opposite is the case. See, if we advocate the verbal inspiration of scripture, you can argue that some random phrase in scripture supports any crazy idea because you aren't limited to the author's intent. For example, I've heard it said that Galatians 3:28 is support for same-sex marriage, because of the phrase "neither man nor woman" (or, to be more precise, the original greek meaning of the phrase). From the context of the passage, it's pretty clear that that wasn't what Paul was trying to tell the Galatians, but, if we accept verbal inspiration, that doesn't matter because it is the words rather than the intent that is inspired by God.
And one last thing… Isaiah, the dog in your avatar is ridiculously adorable. :D
Ahh, it feels so wonderful to agree with you about something. :D
David Roth wrote:
Write it. Forget the truth, this is Journalism.
Blanket statements are bad.