[TBC: Patheos describes itself as, “…the premier online destination to engage in the global dialogue about religion and spirituality and to explore and experience the world's beliefs. Patheos is the website of choice for the millions of people looking for credible and balanced information about religion. Patheos brings together faith communities, academics, and the broader public into a single environment, and is the place where many people turn on a regular basis for insight, inspiration, and stimulating discussion.” It may have stimulating discussion if one is content to ignore error, but the one focus it doesn’t have is “truth.” Consequently, one of its commentators furnished a too often typical article about the “Christian” faith, which in truth undermines the Faith.]
Inconsistent Scripture: Why the Bible’s Errors Are Actually Good News for Christians [Excerpts]
I still remember the first time I realized that not only were there two creation stories in Genesis, but also that they unequivocally contradicted each other. Part of my shock at discovering this was that I had read and re-read those stories so much but had never noticed the difference. The cognitive dissonance was so great that I actually took a sheet of paper and sketched a rough chart detailing what was created on each day in the two stories.
Of course, that biblical surprise paled in comparison to the night I read about God — in whom, according to Hebrews, there is no lie — actually blesses and encourages a spirit to deceive and lie to humans. See, I’d always been told deceitful, lying spirits were the realm of the devil, not the divine. After all, Jesus himself calls Satan a liar and the father of all lies.
And then there was the time a census was taken in Israel. According to one account, it was the kindled anger of the Lord that initiated the census. In another, the census had its genesis not in God, but was instead incited by Satan.
Like many former Biblical literalists who at one time insisted on the inerrancy of Scripture, discovering these stories left me disoriented and feeling betrayed by the very book on which I’d built my faith. For some Christians, pointing out these imperfections undermines their faith, as it did mine so many years ago. Some Christians spend entire careers and lifetimes creating complicated arguments to reconcile and explain away these irreconcilable inconsistencies in Scripture. Eventually, though, it’s hard to avoid the Bible’s undeniable historical inaccuracies and outright contradictions.
But those inaccuracies and contradictions are precisely why I still love Holy Scripture today. In fact, were the Scriptures actually perfect, actually without error, actually meticulously accurate historical documents, I’m not sure I’d have much faith left, much less the desire to study, meditate, and preach on them.
The older and more experienced I get the more I realize that reality itself is fundamentally inconsistent, full of contradictions and irrational behavior. That the Bible, in a way, reflects that is downright reassuring.
In other words, I don’t want a Bible without errors and historical inaccuracies, without contradictions and inconsistencies. Thank God for them! They are good news. They are the very things that make Scripture meaningful and compelling.
So, give me a Bible with inaccuracies, and I’ll show you Holy Scripture that inspires new life rather than dictates legislation to live by.
(David R. Henson, “Inconsistent Scripture: Why the Bible’s Errors Are Actually Good News for Christians,” Patheos Online, January 4, 2016).
[TBC: Though Henson professes that the Bible is the “book on which I’d built my faith,” his article does much to undermine his premise. Using the discredited theory of “two creations in Genesis,” he states that he “sketched a rough chart detailing what was created on each day in the two stories.” That statement alone shows his superficial examination of Scripture. Only Genesis 1 provides a day-by-day account of Creation. Chapter 2 certainly has no day-by-day chronicle. Rather, it provides specific details of the creation, with an emphasis on man and how Adam and Eve came into being. At best, his alleged contradictions are superficial, and at worst demonstrate the fallacy of his conclusions.]