Friday, December 18, 2009

Another Thought on Scripture

In continuation of the conversation from yesterday about where a statement on Scripture should go in a church's "What We Believe" statement included on their website, I'd like to pose a question.

Specifically in contrast to Islam, to whatever degree those of us that are Western non-Muslims understand that religion, how does Christianity respond to this question: In God's love for humanity and desire to be known, loved, and obeyed by them, what has God given the world?

My interaction with many Christians suggests that they would say the Bible. Of course they would say that he has given us his Son as well, but this would be understood as God's way of satisfying his justice in forgiving our sins, not making himself known. To make himself known, much of evangelical preaching and teaching suggests, God has given us a divinely inspired and infallible book. If this is true, if the most important thing for us in knowing God is a book, then how is Christianity any better than Islam?

For me, our firm answer to this question must be that he has given us his very Self in coming to us as a man in Jesus Christ and uniting us to him through the Holy Spirit so that we are given to share in his humanity, including his mind so that we may know the Father as the Son knows the Father (1 Cor 2:6-16). Yes, the Bible is totally irreplaceable as the authoritative guide to knowing God in Christ, to test our thoughts and actions in light of Christ, and to guide our hearts to him through the proclamation of his acts of salvation within our history. However, we must say that without knowledge of Jesus Christ the Bible is utterly useless. It gives us absolutely no knowledge of God if we neglect its central exhortation while we read it, the exhortation to follow and worship Christ as Lord. Our reading of the Bible is only meaningful if done in pursuit of knowledge of Christ as Lord. Therefore, it seems to me that by every standard, Christ and his gospel must come first in any statement of Christian faith, whether ordered by importance, procession of logical argument, or protection of orthodoxy. Let Christ be our all in all. Let everything we do, including our reading of the Bible and acknowledgement of its authority, be only in service to him.


  1. I can't find anything I really disagree with you on here, Adam.

    I think some might be over-reading what you're saying; maybe sub-conciously motivated out of an in-grained 'fundy fear'. I totally understand that, as that is my heritage too; in fact I'm still an "Evangelical" Christian (I thank God for my heritage). I think some folks probably think you're probably straddling the line between Liberal/Conservative. What folks fail to realize that those aren't the only two lines; and we know TFT has provided one that provides an altogether refreshing approach to both christology and bibliology (and I might even disagree a bit with some of TFT's bibliology, but that's for another time ;-).

  2. Thanks Bobby. I'm glad to know you're looking for things to disagree with me on and can't find any. You should talk to my wife.

    There are some areas in TFT's bibliology I have some questions about, particularly the inspiration of the Old Testament, but I can't say I disagree with him; I'm still working on figuring out exactly what he's saying about it. I'd love to hear (and brutally debunk!) the issues you have with him on that topic.

    I'm glad to see you've been feeling relatively well. My family is praying for you.

  3. Hey Adam,

    Thank you guys for the prayers; they are definitely working, we are just praising the Lord for all his provision, in every way, through this season.

    As far as his view of scripture, or better, inspiration; I've understood his view to be commensurate with Barth's. I heard him in a lecture once, he was pretty much denouncing Carl Henry (which was fine with me); but he seemed to imply that holding to views like full innerrancy or something were flawed. I can understand that, to an extent; but at the same time I think, even positively framed, we must have as high a view of scripture as Jesus did --- which from my vantage point includes seeing scripture completely accurate in all it communicates. Can you fill me in on TFT's general bibliology? I've only been able to pick it up here and there by inference as I've read and/or listened to him.

  4. The only places I've seen him go explicitly negative against inerrancy are in that lecture you talked about (those 7 mp3s that keep stopping and starting someone put up on a blog, right?) and in a book review he wrote on B. B. Warfield's Authority and Inspiration of the Bible. His motivation for doing so, I thought, was not that he thinks the Bible be full of errors, but that those who insist on inerrancy in the strong way Carl Henry and B. B. Warfield do put Scripture's authority in its inherent perfection, and thus put it on par with Christ or even unintentionally replace Christ with it, rather than putting Scripture's authority in God himself who uses it infallibly for his kingdom, human and fallible though it be in itself. So far in my reading, he makes his most explicit positive expression of a doctrine of Scripture (or bibliology) in the introduction chapter of Divine Meaning, though there is a bunch of material on the topic in Reality and Evangelical Theology. I just started reading Atonement yesterday - chapter 10 looks to be dealing with Scripture a bit so we'll see when I get there.

    For TFT, the authority of Scripture (or at least the NT - I'm still working on the OT) must be located in Christ's historical person and work of taking on a fully human nature in hypostatic union with his divine nature, taking on our fallen flesh, redeeming it in his person on the cross and up from the grave, all while calling a community of disciples to himself to share in his mortification of the old humanity and vivification of the new, and appointing 12 of them as apostles, the pillars of the new Israel to take his own self-proclamation out into the wider field of lost humanity. The New Testament is all bound up with that movement and has no identity without it. So, just as Christ himself took on our lost, alienated, and fallen humanity in order to redeem it, so he called lost alienated and fallen people to be his disciples and apostles living the new union with God forged in his flesh. It is imperative for Torrance, then, that we see the NT as a collection of apostolic writings bearing the marks of the fallenness and therefore fallibility of its human authors, without diminishing its capacity to be the infallible Word of God to us, not because of some inherent quality it possesses from the mode of its composition, but because of God's freedom, will, and power. To deny that the Bible is equally human and fallible as it is divine and infallible is, for Torrance, to hold a docetic bibliology corresponding to a docetic Christology.

  5. Adam,

    Yep, you know the lectures then. I'll have to read Divine Meaning; and I just ordered Atonement, should get it soon.

    Your second paragraph sounds exactly like what I've observed as I've read in "Incarnation;" in fact I'm rereading right now. You say:

    To deny that the Bible is equally human and fallible as it is divine and infallible is, for Torrance, to hold a docetic bibliology corresponding to a docetic Christology.

    I have no problem with this. BUT, Torrance (in "Incarnation") also says (and I haven't come acrossed it yet) that Christ assumed a 'fallen body/nature' but that by the Spirit he immediately 'sanctified' it (keeping it perfect). This is the way that 'I' approach bibliology; and I think it is commensurate with TFT, even if he wouldn't say this analogously about scripture. What he does say, in "Incarnation," is that 'Word and witness' are inseparable --- to me that implies that the witness must be exactly proximate to what it witnesses to (i.e. no equivocation). So that the holiness, the value of the Logos can only be faithfully borne witness to by an equally holy and true witness (so there is a one-for-one correspondence, albeit an asymmetrical relation). This might be all that TFT is saying. As an Evangelical, though, Adam; my heart will always be prone towards a view of scripture that is w/o error [although not frame positivistically].

    Thanks for your reply.

  6. Yeah, I think its important to Torrance to say that the union of God and man in Christ is totally unique. If what you are saying about the witness being exactly proximate to what it witnesses to is true, then it would have to apply equally to the apostles as to the New Testament Scriptures; I'm pretty sure we would agree that the apostles were neither personally infallible nor paralleling Christ's hypostatic union. If the holiness and value of the Logos can only be faithfully borne witness to by an equally holy and true witness, then the church is totally disqualified. Actually, I think the church is a good analogy for Scripture - it is God's appointed human (fallible) community that God has poured out his Spirit upon to enable to testify to him, but this in no way removes its fallibility.

    Having said all that, I believe the Bible is totally trustworthy - I'm not one of those guys interested in combing through Scripture to find historical contradictions or mathematical impossibilities (any more). I read the Bible not only fully convinced of its spiritual and doctrinal authority, but more or less taking for granted its general historical trustworthiness. I just think its a mistake to stake the Bible's authority or even its general historical trustworthiness on a theological conviction of its total inerrancy.

  7. Yeah,

    But, Adam, scripture doesn't say that the Apostle's were inspired; it says scripture (the deposit) is inspired. Remember I also said there is an asymmetric relation between the witness and the Logos (but inseparably related by the Spirit).

    As far as the church, which one? The church militant or triumphant? There's no doubt, and I'm not questioning this, that we are fallible; but that does not mean our Spirit inspired witness (cf. I Cor 12:3) is. And this is what I disagree with, Adam. There seems to be this enthymemic undercurrent that fallible witness require the potential for error or falsity or "fallibility;" but not the potential for veracity, truthfulness, and or infallibility.

    Is it the presumption then, to be human is to err? If Jesus is the archetypical human, the answer to this question is no. My question, then, is why is it necessary to waffle on this; at least in the way that I've seen many Barthians do? And beyond the theology, Adam; this needs to be squared with the clear pronouncement of scripture (II Tim 3:16), and how "inspiration" should be understood. Beyond that, how did Jesus use and think of scripture (Gordon Wenham has a great book on that)?

    I don't think I have to stake the Bible's authority on a theological presupposition of total inerrancy; I think, like you, it should be placed on the authority of the eternal Logos. But at the same time, Adam, I'm not at all willing to give up on scriptures' infallible witness. I think the churches' witness is subordinated and shaped by scriptures' witness as well (which is why I'm still a Protestant ;-).

    You've said:

    If the holiness and value of the Logos can only be faithfully borne witness to by an equally holy and true witness, then the church is totally disqualified.

    Why? The church is an eschatological people; sure, we're still 'broken vessels', but the light that shines through is not. I think Romans 8 is good here, analogically, it says:

    26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

    I see the Holy Spirit working the same way in the inscripturating process. Certainly we had fallible, broken, fallen men writing; but in that process, the Holy Spirit took that and shaped it in such a way that it was fitted to God's plan and will exactly (i.e. w/o error). To me, this at least illustrates how we have fallible people/authors, but infallible witness. It is infallible witness because the source is infallible (the self-interpreting Word).

    Anyway, I think we may disagree, after all; maybe not, Adam.

  8. Btw Adam,

    I'm not looking for a fight or anything, I just feel pretty strongly about this issue :-).

    In Christ,


  9. Oh, you've got a fight alright, Bobby. I see this as articulating a finer point between friends much more in agreement than disagreement.

    I'm not sure I see how the apostles' writings could be inspired without they themselves being inspired. I'd like you to clarify that point if you wouldn't mind. I can see three possibilities here: 1) The apostles were fallible men but the Spirit totally overrode that in the unique moments when they were writing or dictating the biblical documents, 2) they were themselves fallible men but inspired by the Holy Spirit only in those particular moments when writing or dictating the biblical documents (importantly, not when they were writing other documents), or 3) they were fallible men dynamically filled with the Spirit and inspired when they preached or wrote the infallible gospel of Jesus Christ. I land in category 3. Much of what you've said in your last post, especially your use of Romans 8, would put you there as well. But your opening sentence seems to put you in category 1, though I could also understand you according to category 2. I cannot see a biblical argument being successfully made for category 1 or 2, even on 2 Tim 3:16 which just isn't that explicit about this finer stuff. If we land in category 3, then I think we have to say that the modern fallible preacher is comparably able to be spoken through by the infallible God. I certainly think the Bible has more authority than the modern preacher, but not because it is more filled with the Spirit or formally more correct; it is more authoritative because of its apostolicity, its immediate relation to the historical events our faith rests on.

    What you said about the human capacity of fallible witnesses for both error and veracity (infallibility) I think I totally agree with. But I would say more: The Bible is written by men who not only have the potential for both error and truth, but the actuality of both. I think the Bible bares the marks of its authors' fallibility in unmistakable ways (Paul's beefs with both Mark [in Acts] and Peter [in Gal]), but in such a way that the infallible gospel triumphs over it.

    You talked about Christ's assumption immediately healing the fallen flesh he assumed. I think its important to say, as Torrance does, that this does not immediately heal our human flesh but puts that healing on its eschatological trajectory. We are being healed by Christ's perfect humanity. Any statement of a perfected humanity besides Christ in this age would distort and destroy our understanding of the present age. This is my beef with formal biblical inerrancy and infallibility; it seems to posit either (category 1 and 2) a second miraculous coming of the Word to humanity which is unbiblical or (an over realized eschatological understanding of category 3) a product of perfected humanity.


    PS - I'm actually super grateful for your challenge. These are things I'm still thinking through and you're helping me do that. My bottom line is that I want to preserve the full authority and trustworthiness of Scripture as you do; I just think that the Old Princeton/Westminster way of doing that was very theologically problematic, with effects still lingering all over the American evangelical landscape. Barth's and Torrance's Christological approach to Scripture is, I think, a promising way forward, not certainly not without its own problems.

  10. Okay, I putting my gloves on ;-).

    Actually on II Tim 3:16, it was a Greek prof in undergrad who pointed that out to me. It's what the text says, pasa grafe theopnustos, all the writings are God breathed. That distinguishes the writings [objective] (witness) from the witness bearers [subjective]; while also realizing that there is of course an inseparable relation between them. This would presuppose, I think your option #2 (I actually see alot of overlap between all three of your options though). Certainly it is the principle of canonicty that sets scripture above all other witness is its "Apostolic authority." I actually think we agree.

    I think your example of "fallibility" from Acts is not at odds at all with even a "full innerantist" approch, Adam. Full innerrancy (nothwithstanding its negative and American connotations) gives full acknowledgement to the various types, genres, and forms of scripture. So that what you give as an example would simply fit into a "descriptive" account of the fallibility of Paul. But I don't see how this bears on our discussion on inscripturation and inspiration. I'm not saying I don't believe scripture writers were fallible; but that fallibility is not necessarily constituent to what it means to be human (esp. given the "new creation" aspect of humanity in Christ).

    I agree with you on Torrance, I just read it (p 63 Incarnation); but my point is to use that as analogy for positing the possibility for fallible humans to have eschatologically oriented human capacity in Christ. I want to suggest that this is what happened in the inscripturating process. This age and the age to come, in my mind (in the NT), are in a constant flux of inbreaking and outbreaking; so that to try and quantify that one way or the other, I think, becomes a difficult task. While we don't want to overrealize, we also don't want to underrealize. I think we have the capacity in Christ to "be perfect" (at points), now (Rom 13:14; Gal 5:16); but of course we will always fall back into imperfection (I Jn 2). But, as long as there is this possibility, I see no reason why this capacity could not have been "live" throughout the long history of inscripturation (and we still have to unpack what "scripture" is getting at with the language of God "spirated").

    I like this discussion, too, Adam! I agree that the "apologetic faith" of Fundamentalism is still very very very problematic; but I'm not willing to toss all of it, per se. I want to reframe bibliology, in "positive" ways (why I like TFT and Barth); but at the same time maintain as high of view of scripture as scripture has of itself (and as high as Jesus did). I think TFT and Barth are helpful in emphasizing the "instrumental" nature of scripture (along with Calvin); but I also want to maintain a component of "objectivity" when it comes to the scriptures themselves. I think we're in the same boat, I'm glad we talk about this.

  11. Ok, I need a constructive argument for inerrancy. I agree that it is fully possible for a fallible human to utter inerrant speech or write an inerrant text. My problem is how we determine that the Bible either/both theologically needs to be inerrant or/and actually is inerrant. How is that case built? Seeing that the biblical writers were both divinely authorized to preach the gospel and yet also fallible (which is my only point with the comments from Acts and Gal - I fully realize that this by itself does nothing to disprove inerrancy, only to prove the fallibility of the apostles in the midst of their infallible mission), how and why do we not evaluate the Bible along the lines of its human authors? Where do we get the data that the Holy Spirit so overrode their inherent fallibility as to remove its marks from their writing? Particularly, how do we make the case that the Spirit so overrode their capacity for error in only their canonical writings and not their other ones? I'm not asking if it is possible for them to write the entire contents of the Bible without error - I concede that it is possible, and am even biased toward believing its truth in 99% of the Bible. I'm asking what concrete reasons can be given to go from possibility to 100% actuality? I've been trying to prove that this movement cannot be based simply on theological need - there isn't any. God works infallibly through fallible vessels all the time without in any way removing the marks of their fallibility, all to his greater glory. 2 Tim 3:16 certainly doesn't get you there by itself - it raises more questions than it answers: which Scriptures? The passage is written prior to the existence of a fixed cannon - it does not have a definite article; you threw one in there in your translation, but it is literally "all writings are God-breathed". Of course I know Paul doesn't literally mean "all writings", but it make the passage less capable of establishing such a definite idea as canonical inerrancy, doesn't it? So, (I'm honestly and openly asking) how do we get there? I've read Warfield's arguments and couldn't get there, and then read Torrance and become convinced we don't need to.

  12. Adam said:

    . . . how do we make the case that the Spirit so overrode their capacity for error in only their canonical writings and not their other ones?

    Because we have their "canonical writings;" there obviously is a *silent* appeal (or understood) to the fact that scripture is "God given."

    Adam said:

    . . . I concede that it is possible, and am even biased toward believing its truth in 99% of the Bible. I'm asking what concrete reasons can be given to go from possibility to 100% actuality?

    For me, Adam, it's "God giveness is enough to provide the "concrete." If scripture did'nt self-assert its "God giveness," then I would concede that it could have falsity. I'm going off of God's character (the one who cannot lie); I'm thinking through the criteria that He gave for His prophets (if they lie, or what they say doesn't come true, then don't listen), and applying that to "God given" scripture.

    Adam said:

    . . . 2 Tim 3:16 certainly doesn't get you there by itself - it raises more questions than it answers: which Scriptures? The passage is written prior to the existence of a fixed cannon - it does not have a definite article; you threw one in there in your translation, but it is literally "all writings are God-breathed".

    Yes, but the context provides us with a "definite article," scripture (it's not just 'generic' writings) is clearly in view (which is loaded, given Paul's primary ref. the OT, so there is precedent for what qualifies also see II Pet. 3:15,16).

    Adam said:

    . . . Of course I know Paul doesn't literally mean "all writings", but it make the passage less capable of establishing such a definite idea as canonical inerrancy, doesn't it?

    It could be circular, that is if we didn't have folks like Peter calling Paul's "writings" scripture (on par with the OT); and Paul himself recognizing what he is doing as providing "God's commands" (which is on par with scripture) --- i.e. he was self-conscious that what he was involved in was on par with providing scripture.

    How we arrived at which books were canonical, and which weren't certainly involved a process; but that only presupposes that it was scripture even prior to its "official" recognition as such. And the seeds for recognition were already present in the text itself (it self-authenticates: i.e. prophetic, unitive, apostolic principles). So I don't think it makes II Tim less capable to establish --- that wasn't its aim --- its aim was to assert that whatever qualifies as scripture is indeed "God-breathed."

    I'm not necessarily a Warfield fan, but he's not the only one (although a dominant voice) who has held to a view of scripture that looks more like "inerrancy" and less like the alternatives. I think, at a rhetorical level, what happens, often, is that inerrancy is marginalized by situating that concept to the Fighting Fundy era; as I look over the broader sweep of church history, I see folks, at a conceptual/pragmatic level, engaging this concept long before its heyday at the turn of the 20th cent.

    I think Barth goes too far; and that's why I'm still trying figure out "how far" TFT goes, hopefully not as far as Barth :-).


  13. Let me clarify further,

    I take as a priori that: God is a good communicator, that scripture represents *His* communication to us, through humans; and thus *His* communication is "good."

    To me, if God has anything to do with it; if scripture is associated directly with "God's voice," which it is. If God cannot lie, which He cannot; then I cannot see how there can be any error (even if there are "apparent ones") within the text (I would attribute error to the interpreters instead).

    While we don't want to engage Docetic understandings (per TFT's concerns); we also don't want to engage Ebionite understanding of scripture, which I find Barth's approach tending toward. There must be a balance here.

  14. How does Barth go too far? What does he say and where does he say it that makes you feel that he crosses a line?

    It is the a priori approach to biblical inspiration that I have a problem with, as do Barth and Torrance, not the idea of inerrancy as such. I have no theological objection to the idea of biblical inerrancy (its having no errors); I have a problem with the idea that inerrancy is a theological given based on a priori statements about what must be true of God-given communication. Doesn't the incarnation overrule and pronounce our theological a prioris invalid, since God the eternal, infinite, and immortal God comes to us as a temporal, finite and mortal man? I'm not sure what there is to like in Torrance if it isn't his refusal to operate on theological a prioris and instead build all theology on the a posteriori basis of Christ himself. You mentioned Christ's use of Scripture - I never see him appealing to or latently reposing on principles of total inerrancy. God-givenness and authority yes, total technical inerrancy, no.

    My problem with the a priori approach is that it doesn't need the incarnation. If your understanding of inspiration is totally based on the Spirit's overriding inspiration, then you don't need Christ's personal internal union of the divine and human natures to have a Bible communicating the truth of God (of course you need it for the Bible to be true on that particular point, but not for other teachings about God or man). What I'm looking to Torrance for in my research is a fully Christological (and thereby no less pneumatological, just not strictly pneumatological) account of biblical inspiration which operates on an a posteriori approach to revelation as uniquely established in the incarnation, relating the Bible as revelation totally and inextricably to the incarnate Christ as its source of authority and truth. Torrance says in several places (Divine Meaning, Reality and Evangelical Theology, I think in Incarnation) that the humanity of Christ is the real text of the New Testament - I think for him that is the backbone of biblical authority, its humanly truthful testimony to the humanity of Christ, which reveals God to us.

    What do you do with passages like 1 Cor 7:12, Paul's command which he explicitly says is from him and not the Lord?

    One final point: I don't charge you with relying fully on Warfield, but your position on inerrancy seems virtually identical with his (of course we can say people have been defending the authority and truthfulness of Scripture for centuries, but I don't think you can say the idea of total verbal-inspired inerrancy in the way Hodge, Warfield, and Machen defend it goes back much before them). In my reading of Warfield it became clear to me that his understanding of the Bible's total technical inerrancy is built upon and indivisible from his logico-deductive "scholastic Calvinism", as Torrance might call it, including the doctrines of limited atonement and irresistible grace, ideas I think you and I are together in rejecting. Both his understanding of election and of inspiration were based on a priori understandings of God's sovereignty and will, which I think are proven faulty by the life and ministry of Christ. I wrote a paper on this last year; I'd be happy to share it.

  15. Good thoughts, Adam.

    I Cor 7 has never posed a problem for me, given my doctrine of inspiration ;-).

    I don't know why what I said on having an a priori belif that God is a good communicator has to be at odds with an scientific or a posteriori christology and thus doctrine of God. Why can't I hold to this "a priori" about God; if it is first grounded in who I know God to be in Christ?

    I don't have Barth in front of me at the moment. But in principle, I will never ever ever be able to say that scripture "becomes" the Word of God as I encounter Jesus in it. That is not how scripture speaks of itself (Heb 4.12). Of course we do encounter Jesus, by the Spirit, in the scriptures (Jn 5.39); but that's because they are scripture first. That's my problem with Barth (in a nutshell).

    I'd love to read your paper, my email (I think you have it):

    Thanks. I'm still fleshing this out, Adam; so thanks for helping me do that! Merry Christmas!

  16. There seems to be a real difficulty with actually wrestling with what the likes of Torrance says about dealing with Scripture. I can only take it that his little book , Reality and evangelical theology is not transparent and needs much needed clarity. I only wish i had a copy of his little pamphlet he wrote for the Rutherford House on the topic of the Bible. If you don't mind me saying, i think an absolute mind-field of presuppositions has been created on this one (topic), it kind of puts me off theology as so much 'hot-air'! Ps. beware of premature agreement or cordiality!

  17. Timothy, I'm not sure I get the thrust of where you're going here. I thought Reality and Evangelical Theology was fairly clear and very helpful. Some of the stuff on the relevance of post-Einsteinian natural science to hermeneutics I found a little obscure, but the rest I think is great. What in particular did you find needed clarity?

  18. I am just very concerned that if the Reality with which we have to do is God in this world, how is it that we seem to leave behind that feeling of coherence for the Word, for it seems we are splitting apart the Word of God from the words of the Bible, and cross-cutting with so many strands of thought with our theological traditions? Isn't it hard in these responses to separate out the thoughts, (ie. arrive at clear meaning) when each new term added has its own history, and culture and philosophy? More importantly, surely such lines have a tendency to give no worthy witness to the Lord we profess to love, and more importantly who first loved us? Surely too, more of our own experiential level of understanding of the text of the Bible would shine through, rather than appear, as i am sometimes guilty of myself, of repeating thoughts of others that are not of one's own experience, or not even made one's own experience! I say all this for the non-cognoscenti amongst us, like myself, can find it ultimately more attractive to create, unfortunately, a distinction between the God of Dogmatic theology and the God of the Bible, so as to deliberately avoid these complexities of hermeneutics and exiegesis! This is why I have sometimes been misunderstood when I say I follow the reality of the texts of Torrance's God probably as much as I follow the reality to which the Bible itself points to the reality of God's Self-revelation.

  19. Adam, I loved that bit from your friend , Andy Snyder, about how the world of the Bible is not like the world we live in now and how certain churches try to keep on with the special effects of signs or wonders. This comment and your response had me realizing just how special the Bible is, for it conveys a reality - which has seeped into our mundane world - of that ultimate Reality, which is the only one which is going to last, unlike the 'reality' outside of my window. Then you say this Reality has been reserved in the eschaton or somit, and I think, well, is it any wonder Christians' can get comments made about them! Yes there is nothing like, in the midst of theologizing, the question , is the world of God so depicted, real!? I am banking on it , that cleverer people than me are more in touch with such a Reality, than I am! Not least because the God they (Torrance et al.) point to is at the same time an offering of the one who is in Communion with us (and them), thus being a similiar experience for us readers, as it was for them. To that extent, and thank goodness, the world of hermeneutics is often hidden and not explicit.

  20. Surely , when we think of Scripture as you were doing, in relation to Torrance (at very top of page), is that we must, as Torrance does, overcome the split or contradiction between the creaturely and the Divine which God has brought together in himself. So that just as we come to see the dual identity if you like of Christ of whom the Scriptures speak, ie. without confusion, then likewise we have to view the Scriptures as of a comparable dual identity otherwise they do not share with us the God of the undivided person of Christ. Adam, I just thought that if this were to be the start and end of Scripture - and I must say you started out with great aplomb - then I wish you had stuck more to your Torrancian guns! The very evangelical substance of the Gospel is at stake, isn't it? I think you were being nearly as straitforward as me, but there were numerous side-tracks.