I was listening to a theology class on inerrancy the other day while jogging. I know, I live an exciting life.
It was a 45-minute lecture on the credibility of God’s Word. Many have attacked the Bible for being historically inaccurate, yet as time goes on, more and more archaeological evidence soundly backs up the Bible.
For instance, when this professor was in seminary, an archaeologist who did work at Jericho said that yes, while there was proof that the walls did fall down suddenly, based on the pottery, the date of the fall was several hundred years earlier than Joshua says it was. Therefore, Israel didn’t do the wall knocking, they just borrowed the story, and thus the Bible is in error.
Therefore, since the Bible is clearly wrong, we cannot hold to the innerancy of Scripture. Yes, it may be good for spiritual insight, maybe even trustworthy for finding out how to be saved, but as for history, it’s no good.
Until years later when another archaeologist did some work at Jericho and found that the previous archaeologist didn’t do thorough enough work. The previous one did work in the poor part of town where they had old pottery. But the richer part of town had newer pottery, and thus the date was consistent with Joshua’s testimony.
He gave several other examples where time came through on the side of the Bible as more information was gathered. He spoke in very certain terms that you had better take the Bible’s word for it. Trust what it says. Don’t change the words. Even if the words haven’t been proven right yet, stick with them, they will be.
Very adamant and clear on the point about trusting Scripture, taking its word for it. It was very nicely done.
He then quoted Mathew 24:35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” He bucked up the point further: people can be wrong; God will not be. Stick with what God says, not with what people make up, as people will pass away but not God’s word.
He then tried to explain what heaven and earth passing away meant.
Again, let me set the scene: he has just spent 30+ minutes talking about the credibility of God’s Word, how we should trust what it says, take it for what it says and not trust people’s opinions about what it says. Again, 30+ minutes on that.
“Heaven and earth passing away can’t actually refer to the heaven and earth passing away,” he loosely said. “What will happen is that some of the bad works on the earth will be burned away, but this earth will remain.”
I busted out laughing while running down a hill on Forest Lane. “You gotta be kidding me!” I said out loud.
Again, 30+ minutes of “the Bible said the walls of Jericho fell over, and they did. Always take the Bible for what it says, don’t listen to those who change what it says.” 30+ minutes of that followed by, “well, it doesn’t really mean what it says here.”
Now, granted, there is always debate about how biblical prophecy will be fulfilled. There is even some wiggle room on translating the phrase “shall pass away” (which is all one Greek word), but still, based on the context, Jesus is talking about something (the heaven and earth) that ceases to be with something (God’s words) that will never cease to be.
He’s clearly not saying “Yes heaven and earth will slightly be altered, but God’s word will not slightly be altered.” He’s speaking in absolutes. Creation will disappear; God’s Word is eternal.
Why can’t the professor just say that? Because the theological camp he belongs to does not believe there will be a 1,000 year kingdom on this earth (even though Revelation clearly says it about 8 times) before the destruction of the heavens and the earth and the creation of a new heaven and earth. Therefore, when the Bible describes life in the Kingdom, the professor and his camp mix that with life in the “new heavens and the new earth.”
His camp has taught him their theory, which I don’t think is consistent with Scripture. Since he has to stay in his camp, he can’t teach what the Bible says here. That’s his call. He can do that if he wants, but if he does, he can’t really teach the previous 30+ minutes of his lecture with a straight face.