Friday, August 5, 2011

The KnowMore Chronicles, Part 2

Tailoring for All Nations? One of KNM's contentions is that an omniscient God ought to have provided a Bible tailored to all nations, cultures, and ages. I will begin by noting that many cultures have an easier time understanding the Bible is they (like the Bible's authors) are agonistic and collectivist -- and that is what 99.9% of people who have ever lived have been. That said, there remain always at the least minor cultural presuppositions that cannot "translate" easily from one age or culture to the next. So should we still expect God to have produced an "omniuse" volume?

Not in the least. For one thing, as I have noted many times, such a volume could only be moved in a fleet of vans. Not only so, such a volume would be subject to hazards such as revealing too much about other cultures (or ages) which could readily be taken advantage of by other cultures or prior ages.

For example, let us say there was a specially inspired portion of the Bible suited to isolationist Japan in the era spanning from the medieval period to the 1800s. Of course, by KNM's logic, such an inspired section would be useless if it were not clearly identified as being for that specific era and culture. It would have to indicate in some way, "This portion of God's message is for peoples living in the nation known as Japan in years designated 1400-1850 by future methods of reckoning time." Now one can imagine all sorts of mischief afoot in the years prior to 1400. Some wicked person might decide to produce only that section of the Bible, and try to find and reach this "Japan" so they can become rich teaching and preaching to the Japanese. Or someone like Alexander or Julius Caesar or even Constantine might see some advantage in finding or even conquering this "Japan," perceiving from the specially tailored text that it was an isolationist culture that might be subject to certain blandishments -- or might become a threat that needed to be eliminated.

The point of this is that glib suggestions of a Bible omni-tailored to each culture and age need much more substance than suggestion. I might add that the very basics of the Bible -- which constitutes a very small portion of it -- are really all that need translation to another culture and age; in this regard our tendency to think the whole Bible is needed -- or none at all -- can be counterproductive. There would certainly be no need to have books like Leviticus and Zephaniah reproduced in an "omni"-Bible.

But if the core teaching is so small, then it is no hardship at all to explain it to other cultures as needed, in person. Indeed, this would do far more to increase fellowship and unity in the Body of Christ than plopping a giant "here it is" book down that ends up being full of information useless to the isolationist Japanese -- or even a smaller book with just the core teachings (especially when literacy would not exceed 10% in most nations until the modern era).

Beyond this, I would also note that I have challenged KNM repeatedly to show that some real problem with clarity in the Bible exists in the first place -- and this, a serious problem; not merely one where some concentrated work or study is involved, but where a resolution to a critical issue is not able to be found because of lack of clarity. Note as well that "critical" means something essential to salvation -- it seems hardly relevant, for example, if we argue that the Bible is not clear how many horses Solomon owned.

That happens to be all I want to say of KNM's arguments for now, but he has promised more when he returns from a vacation in about a week, and we will be answering any more issues here then.

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