(Thought 3 Jun 2014)
Précis – Jesus is the Word of God NOT the Bible.
I often hear the description of the bible as the divinely inspired word of God; but it cannot be that if you think about it. It puts you in dangerous territory and here’s why. We Christians believe that in Jesus of Nazareth we have the nature of God revealed to humankind; but:
* In treating the bible as the divinely inspired word of God we set up a ‘golden calf’ in opposition to the idea of Jesus.
* There are plenty of times in the accounts of the early days of the Hebrew people where bigoted ethnic cleansing is the order of the day; and by the standards of a Loving God as revealed in the person of Jesus that is plain wrong.
* Either the bible is the direct instrument of God’s message, in which case every bit is as important as every other bit and every bit is of equal significance;
* And if it is we might as well stop concentrating on the words and ministry of Jesus – frankly what many Christians seem to do by claiming an adherence to the Ten Commandments – because this relegates the life, death & ministry of Jesus to just one factor amongst many;
* Or it is the work of individual Hebrews, Jews & Christians charting the development of a belief in a single God which then comes to fruition in the ministry of someone we Christians believe to be to God as is a Son to the Father.
If, as I believe, the bible is a set of documents compiled by humans demonstrating the presence of the Holy Spirit (and references to the Holy Spirit depend on your own way of looking at God and his/her creation) then we can use the reason/emotion developed in this uniquely sentient species (on this planet at least) to see how we best contribute to the Kingdom of God/Heaven (3rd post on 29 May). We don’t have to follow rules, jump through hoops or adhere to the words of the bible as a sort of shibboleth as Christians. Instead we need to think of ways we can demonstrate the Love of God as revealed in the person, life & death of Jesus. THAT is all that matters.