1 Nov 2015
For so many, supposed gaps in the Bible have led to frustration, arguments, and parting ways with God. A common response to difficult actions of God in reference to those who have marred the precise commands of give is thus:
“Gods ways are higher then our ways”, and “who are we to question God…”
Frankly, “who we are” is the recipient of a two way relational covenant with God. Any good marriage doesn’t last long when there are secrets, or questions left unanswered. God would be guilty of being a hypocrite without certain logistical gaps being filled in. God is the inspired or even direct force behind some horrendous events. Aside for problematic gaps, there are also recorded stories that are better placed in a compilation of myths then a historical account of the world. What is problematic is not that these are potentially capable of pinning God as the culprit in some wicked acts – we would not have conclusive evidence to do so anyway. What is at stake is that the Bible is being observed with such a delicate eye that anything that doesn’t line up with it either ‘breaks’ the Bible, or isn’t true.
One event that seems particularly problematic to me is the event where the sun stood still for about a day and a half. It can be found in Joshua 10. What is interesting here is prior to verse 13 (where the paramount physics-contrition sits), God is said to have “hurled stones at the earth… more men died by the stones then by the sword” Verse 11. So a lot is happening here that is theologically as well as empirically controversial. Of course, it would be too easy to claim every event that is profound is metaphorical – after all, we see miraculous events (God or not!) still today! God fought for men. This seems consistent with the character of God found in the whole of Scripture.
But God chose to stop the earth from moving? For this miracle to take place, about some 4 billion plus other miracles would also have to happen, in the way of staying the current momentum of everything still going at the rotational speed of the earth. God could have done that, but why would He choose to contradict the laws of physics to such an extreme degree like that? Couldn’t there be an easier why for Him to take care of the armies that the Israelites were fighting?
So that is one case of a physical anomaly. Others include: The Red Sea parting, Elijah rising up to the sky in a chariot of fire (defying death in a traditional human sense), Jesus (and Peter) walking on water, and Jesus multiplying the loaves. We believe God to have made the matter of the universe, and the physical laws that govern them. We also believe God does things often out of a response to petitions made to Him, so miracles are evidence of physical laws being superseded on (and only on) account of relational grounds. This explains the ultimate why, but what about the incredible inefficiency in some of these cases?
Jesus, in the New Testament, denied miraculous signs when asked for them, sense they were asked for in a non-redeeming spirit. But some of these Old Testament accounts present unavoidably-large rumors to be spread. The water of the Red Sea could safely be explained by some kind of massive frequency that made the water align to a particular shape; this way, no laws were contradicted. In addition to physical anomalies, there are theological hiccups that, on a surface, appear to present God as contradicting the character He appears to maintain throughout the entire Bible. Is one or two cases trivial if it is contrast with the rest of the Bible? Can these things really be perfectly explained away by the decisions of men?
Conclusions should be arrived at, at least tentative ones, because our honest witness to others of the consistency, and faithfulness, and love of God hang in the balance. If there were ever good news, I would suggest that it is that we can claim that the Bible is not the whole picture of God. In fact, I would say that the Bible is more a picture of man interacting with God, then God interacting with man. Our witness of God is seen in the intimate places of life – where God can’t possibly be dismissed. He has reached us at a place where our confidence will not budge, even if every shred of evidence in regards to the Bible’s authenticity were dismantled… How, you may ask? Because what is the alternative? Random chaos? What else is there? There are answers here that are for our good – why would we ever run from them? Wrestle yes, but run from them completely?