Monday, January 26, 2009

Scripture as Open or Closed?

The natural world has been understood in different ways, according to scientists and philosophers. Some consider the world as a closed system, where the world, as it is, whether made, evolved or designed, is not impacted by supernatural realities. Others, choose to believe that the world is open and influenced directly by the supernatural.

The Scriptures are also viewed in this way. As literature, the scholar approaches the text, with an understanding that what is written is written, as it is. It is not influenced by any other etraneous influences, because it is considered an ancient text. Ancient texts are considered within their ancient context, where ancient culture is understood more fully. These scholars, whether historians, seeking for "facts", or literary critics, seeking for "universal truth", as understood with the ancient context, are interested in the text as an observation.

Scholars, who still agree that the text is a literary device of ancient culture to inform its audience of important ancient cultural values, can also believe there is some value in understanding ancient cultural values, as they contain humanitie's values, or truths that are universally applicable to the modern world. These scholars would be considered Christians in some realms, where other realm of the Christian world would not understand these scholars as falling short of being " biblical Chrisitans".

Biblical Christians understand the text as an open or closed text. Some affirm the openness because of what they believe as "inspiration" of the believer in encountering the text, while others, believe that the text is totally revelational in written form. The former are "neo-orthodox" and can understand man's inspiration as "spirit", or psychological response to stimuli. Beleivers who believe that the text is a written revelation, as is, are fundamentalist.

While the text is considered by all Christians as important to or in their faith. Some are minimalistic in their commitment to the text as "truth for today". Others range the gambit from every "dot and tittle" to an overarching message to and overarching value system, etc.

What the text means is important to address because one's understanding of the diversity within the Christian church is necesarry for tolerance of difference, which brings about a unity in the faith. And the Scriptures are clear that we should work for unity of the faith.

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