WHO IS GOD? Part 21 (The Bible)
In the previous entry in this series, the suggestion was made that parts of the Old Testament, such as the story of Noah’s Flood, appear to include legendary material, that is, material different from what we would consider literal history. This suggestion may make some Christians uncomfortable. There are two responses. First, this series is directed chiefly at non-Christians. Even if one ultimately comes to the conclusion that the Bible is all true in a literal sense, this conclusion is not persuasive to someone who is seeking to learn about Christianity. The method chosen here is to treat the Bible as a historical record and to examine what it says about God’s interactions with humanity. Once we understand Who God Is as depicted in the Bible, we are in a better position to consider whether the things said about God are true.
Second, few Christians would contend that the entire Bible is literally true as history. Parts of it are plainly poetry (e.g., the Psalms), advice for living wisely (e.g., the Proverbs), and parts appear to be theological reflection (it was argued earlier that the creation story in Genesis fits into this category). Christians who take a “high” view of the factual reliability of the Bible generally agree that the Biblical writings should be interpreted as the author(s) of those writings intended, though as we will see when we look at some of the prophetic writings, this principle may need to be adjusted.
So for now we are going to take the Bible as we find it, using our best efforts to determine when it was written and why, and what the authors intended us to learn from it. One thing they intended us to learn was Who God Is, which is the subject of this series.