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Why do people think the Bible is divinely inspired?

Why do people think the Bible is divinely inspired? - I.H. (from Quora)

Some Initial Remarks from the Theory of Knowledge

The rather modern ideas of intellectual (individualistic) property, scientifically verifiable knowledge and object-oriented ways of understanding knowing itself have left a deep mark in the current discourse about these matters. On the basis of such common presuppositions authorship of a non-fictional work is explained in terms of someone having solid ground to assert things that he or she is ready to demonstrate in a scientific manner in front of a possibly skeptical audience / readership.

Things being so, there is nothing strange in the fact that only one verdict can be accepted for so many people, when addressing the question of who is responsible for the truth/falsehood of the Bible: It will be regarded as mere fiction, collection of pre-scientific fables, or little more than that.

It is my belief that, unless we dare to question the above mentioned three presuppositions there is no logical way of asserting something different.

Things begin to change when you question, for example who owns an idea. We tend to classify people, quite sharply, in terms of those who create thought and those who consume thought. On the side of the creators one should expect to find talented writers, mathematical geniuses, outstanding artists, and the like. On the side of the consumers, one should expect to meet the rest of all of us. According to this view, books are the created fruits of some hopefully fine and beautiful minds.

Nevertheless, when descending to the details of that creative work, it is frequent--and not that difficult--to discern seeds and drafts of the soon-to-be-created works scattered on the notebooks and conversations of many other, far less popular, minds. Probably a good example is Albert Einstein's use of the Lorentz transformations in formulating his own Special Relativity theory. The question, in this case, would be: How much of Relativity could Einstein claim to be solely his own creation?

A similar remark can be done about the object-oriented explanation of knowledge. People typically see themselves, when reading, as "knowing subjects," fully equipped to analyse and criticize an "object-to-be-known," i.e., the contents of a particular book. Please, do try to apply such an scheme to poetry. The richness of poetry arguably resides in the complex and rather unpredictable interplay between the "object" and the "subject." And, you guess it, the Bible definitely falls much closer to this type of literature than to any other.

The Bible: Book of a People

The presupposition that every knowledge has to be "object-oriented" in order to be really controllable and therefore reliable, implies the act of severing numerous ties between a book and the people that gave origin to that book. When assessing the quality of a book on the basis of such presupposition, we loose, just in one swoop, most of the richness stemming from its cultural background--which, in the case of the Bible, is probably more than half its meaning and significance.

Think of the Exodus. What is it like to be liberated, in direst circumstances, from the post powerful government then known to the Hebrew people? It takes a good amount of hubris to think that just by reading in a dictionary the term "liberation" one is ready to grasp what was going on in the 12th century B.C.

I know: we are not accustomed to dealing with people when reading our books. On the contrary, we feel quite comfortable on our arm-chairs scrutinizing the assertions and claims of the authors, as a necessary step to shape our own very personal opinion. Yet the Bible, so to speak, "works" in a different way. The Bible, if anything, is first and foremost, testimony. And you have to meet the people of the Bible if you really want to get acquainted with its main themes and central assertions.

It is in the process of meeting the people of the Bible that we gain true access to the testimony they bear witness to. And that testimony is not a series of praises of that particular people itself--as it is so frequent in the national literature of other peoples who indulge in pouring great commendations of their heroes. The central testimony of the People of the Bible is: "The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad" (Psalm 126).

Thus, in coming to know the people of the Bible, in coming to receive and eventually to believe their testimony, one comes to recognize that the true author of their history is God himself. And that is what has been kept in compact, written form on the pages of the Sacred Scripture. This assertion, I think, is indistinguishable from the assertion of God's presence and action in the deeds the Bible narrates in its own moving language.

Reproducción permitida, citando la fuente.
-Fr. Nelson Medina, OP

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