God’s Message Endures, Even Though You Claim Moral Superiority to It

It is infuriating to have to discuss the Bible with those that claim some mystic knowledge of it that I do not posses. I am no theologian, I have not spent weeks upon weeks starving myself, preventing myself from any form of outer joys in order to better understand the word, and maybe I should, but I do know that the Bible is simple enough.

Why is the Bible fairly simple? Because God wanted us all to read it. Did you ever wonder how Carl from Sling Blade was able to quote Biblical text perfectly and with comprehension? The fact that it is a movie aside, because the Bible was written for Carl, just as it was written for C.S. Lewis, and my grandpa, and your soccer coach, and the bum on the corner.

But inevitably someone proclaims that “if you have studied the original Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek, as I HAVE, you would know that (insert statement about Biblical text that is 180 degrees the opposite of all modern translations meanings).”

And they’ll likely follow up with a heavy dose of “And all modern translations are wrong.”

So the hundreds of dedicated biblical scholars who went through thousands of hours of proofing and slaved over bringing you an accurate translation (who likely consulted the codices in question) with their Seminary degrees and their decades upon decades of prayer and reflection, and probably centuries of combined experience, all wrong because you want “Sin X” to not be a sin, and you’ve sought out ancient texts (supposedly), became fluent in dead languages (supposedly) and studied them in depth (supposedly) and with the open heart of a faithful man (supposedly), all with time to spare to rainbow the facebook picture of you smoking a blunt.  Likely

You see why God warned against pride?

So for all you folks out there who are of this belief system I have one question.

Do you believe that God has the power to have his word exact its purpose?

Here is what Isaiah 55 (certainly a mistranslation, certainly) has to say on the subject.

Invitation to the Thirsty

1“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
3Give ear and come to me;
listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.
4See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
a ruler and commander of the peoples.
5Surely you will summon nations you know not,
and nations you do not know will come running to you,
because of the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
for he has endowed you with splendor.”
6Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
7Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
8“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
13Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
for an everlasting sign,
that will endure forever.

As the rain and the snow cover the earth, so will God’s word. So by extension of logic when you state that the only true translations in existence are the Leningrad Codex or the Apello Codex, or whatever the manuscript du jour is in your “you probably haven’t heard of them” branded hipster leather man purse, you are saying that God is:

1. Not powerful enough to have his word achieve its purpose.
2. A liar since 1 is true and he said he was.
3. Non-existant since if one verse is wrong, it may as well all be wrong. Otherwise you’re inconsistently cherry picking what’s real and what isn’t, which isn’t logically sound. And if it’s so flimsy a document that man can conspire to destroy its message, we’re not dealing with any god at all.

Yeah I get a little hot about it, I do apologize for the demeanor, but the site isn’t called Rusty People Skills for nothin’.

It just irritates me to no end when people claim this mystical knowledge of the Bible that I can’t possibly possess, when they claim that my God wanted to hide his message under a bushel and that man has so much dominion over him he can cut his message to ribbons.

And then to go and smugly state that not only is your ancient translation superior, but that it validates (insert sin of the day here), that is when my human side takes over, and my grace goes out the window, and it’s off to the blogosphere. And I don’t like feeling like that. It is a visceral response, not unlike vomiting uncontrollably for several hours.  I’m not exaggerating here, it happens in some form nearly once every internet argument I have, and boy howdy, I have lots of internet arguments.

Let me tell you something. You’d be an idiot to state that through various languages and millenia the NIV or NLT or whatever translation are verbatim the exact word of God written by the original prophets. But you can sure be spiffy that the message endures. God promised it would, and it has.

And woe unto them who claim they know better. Especially if anyone listens to them.

Luke 17:1Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. 2It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3So watch yourselves.