Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Is It Human to Err?

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14).

John 1:14 tells us that the second person of the Godhead became incarnated as a man and lived in human flesh. It also tells us that this God-man was filled with truth.

This teaching was not acceptable to many people in the ancient world. As a result, there arose a heresy known as “docetism,” which rejected the idea that God could become man. It would be beneath the dignity of God to take on human nature, the docetists said. The docetists argued that though Jesus “seemed” to have a physical body, in reality He did not.

More sophisticated forms of docetism appeared as time went along, but in general any view that devalues the humanity of Christ is called docetic. Now, in the twentieth century a number of modernist theologians, most prominently Karl Barth, have argued that the classical Christian doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture is docetic. They say this view does not do justice to the humanity of Scripture.

In particular, Barth and others say that the orthodox view does not take into account the human propensity to err. “To err is human,” they say. “Thus, if the Bible is both divine and human, it must contain both truth (the divine part) and error (the human part).”

It is one thing to admit that fallen man can err, and even that all fallen men do err. It is quite another thing to say that unless you make mistakes, you cannot be human. To say the latter is to deny the incarnation. Did Jesus err? Did Jesus sin? No. But was Jesus human? Certainly.

Jesus was truth incarnate. A human so filled with truth cannot err. The Scriptures, as the Word of Christ, are, like Him, both divinely inerrant and humanly inerrant. The question is not whether or not men “can” err. The question, rather, is whether the writers of the Bible “did” err. Beyond this is the question of whether the God of truth can “inspire error”!

If we say God cannot produce an inerrant Bible, we must then conclude that all Scripture is suspect. If so, perhaps its teaching is wrong with regard to the deity of Christ, the completed atonement and other vital areas of belief. List several other major doctrines which depend upon the trustworthiness of the Bible.