BIBLE IS NOT INERRANT
In response to Mark D. Milby’s Inbox letter in the Sept. 5 LEO Weekly: While I greatly question the ultimate benefit of debating biblical interpretation, Milby’s claim of a 100-percent accuracy record in the Bible must not be allowed to stand.
Any high school student will tell you that pi is equal to 3.14 or, if you get someone who actually paid attention in class, they will tell you that pi is equal to 3.1415926. Unless, of course, they are using the Bible as a math book, in which case they tell you, based upon 1 Kings 7:23, that pi is equal to 3. Except, of course, it isn’t.
In addition, the Bible clearly demonstrates that Jesus could never have been born. The Bible is clear that Jesus was born during the reign of King Herod the Great — Matthew 2:1; Luke 1:5. The historic record is clear that Herod the Great died in or prior to what we currently denominate as 4 B.C. The Bible is clear as well that Jesus was born when Quirinius was governor of Syria — Luke 2:2. We know that Quirinius did not become governor of Syria until 6 A.D. So if the Bible is 100 percent inerrant, it is somewhat difficult to understand how Jesus, a character of undoubted historic validity, was born either under the reign of Herod 10 years before Quirinius became governor of Syria, or during Quirinius’ tenure as governor of Syria a decade after the death of Herod.
The point is not that the Bible contains errors. In fact, no written work has had a greater impact upon the world. That book, however, must be understood for what it is and just as importantly what it is not, and it is certainly not, as to either mathematics or historic chronology, an inerrant textbook.
Thomas E. Rutledge, Germantown
In response to Mark D. Milby’s letter supporting the biblical story of Noah, I would like to point out the difference between what I call the “Religious Method” and the Scientific Method of determining knowledge. Religious Method users first establish what they believe by selecting portions of their holy text, and then find outside evidence to “prove” their belief. Users of the Scientific Method look at facts from the world and then try to put these facts together in a coherent whole, called a theory. The Scientific Method leads to a lot of argument, which its users think is healthy.
As far as the Bible goes, marine fossils found at high elevations don’t prove a general flood but are evidence of the upheaval of the Earth’s crust. In Isaiah, authors used the Hebrew word for a flat disk to describe Earth, not the one for a ball. Were cities found where the Bible says they were? Yes, and so has Troy been found, along with evidence of conflagration, as Homer described? Doesn’t this prove the existence of “grey-eyed” Athena?
Finally, evolution is not about creation. It explains a set of facts contained in fossils and in the adaptation and distribution of species. Evolution isn’t something to have faith in; it is an explanation of those facts. Here’s a fact I would like explained by the Bible: When we were four weeks along in our mothers’ wombs, we all had tails.
Rich Mills, Shawnee
In the Sept. 5 issue, there was a letter asserting the scientific prowess of the Bible, but oddly enough, it had no quoted verse and no cited science. At first, I thought of responding with a snarky letter detailing how the Bible could also be interpreted as describing a geocentric model with a flat, square Earth laid upon pillars, but really I wanted to point out that the author only believes the Bible in retrospect. What has happened is that someone has taken an established idea and found one or two verses that could, in some translation, be used to support his claim. But if what he says is correct, then we should have a wellspring of theorems from the Bible before they are scientifically agreed upon. Shouldn’t the church have been pushing Galileo to catch up to them? If any of the people or organizations that push for a literal interpretation of the Bible believed one-tenth as much as they say they do, they would sell their possessions and give away their money as is prescribed in Matthew 19:21, and then I would love to see someone actually practice Matthew 5:40.
Spencer Davis, Jeffersonville