Thursday, December 12, 2013

So How Do I Know?

So if the Bible is fallible, how do I know what to believe about God? Well scientific texts are fallible, but I know some things about the universe too. What I cannot be is certain about what I know. My knowledge, too, is fallible. Reading and understanding the Bible, grasping what God is trying to tell you, is a tricky thing. It isn't simple or straightforward. Surveying the Bible, you have to use reason and tradition, you have to look at how former generations of Christians, especially those who lived exemplary Christian lives, approached certain texts. One scratches and gestures and does one's best, but in the end we all, all of us, have to admit our own sinfulness and throw ourselves on the mercy of God. If you want me to take anything I believe and find some way to prove it to you beyond all and every doubt, to actual certainty, I admit from the outset that I cannot do this. But that doesn't mean I don't know anything. People often confuse knowing with certainty. One can know something even if one is not sure that one does, in fact, know it. To get a better grasp on this principle, which is called 'fallibilism', see here:

Beyond reason, there is the guide of the Holy Spirit. What brings one to faith is the proclamation that they have been saved by Jesus Christ. When one's own separation from God is experienced, and then that separation is overcome by an encounter with the risen Christ, this in and of itself grounds out faith in certain things in the Bible. I believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus because I directly encounter the risen Christ. But Jesus has never come to me with the message: 'believe that every word of the Bible as literally true.' One's own experience grounds out plenty of what one encounters with the Bible. Most Christians take the Holy Spirit to have guided those who canonized the Bible to ensure that only the Word of God made it into the canon. But if they can have faith in the Spirit's guidance when it comes to THAT, why can't I have faith in the Spirit's guidance when it comes to what is true and what isn't in the Bible? Why can't the encounter with scripture be concurrent with my encounter with God? Isn't this really how most people read the Bible anyways? They feel like there and then God is speaking to them. Each line is a message to them in that moment. To universalize that experience, and insist that one's own personal encounter MUST be the truth for everyone is just to deny the Infinite nature of God and the nature of relationship.  

No comments:

Post a Comment