The Nature of The Authority of Scripture.

It seems as if Christianity is always fated to battle with science, but does it have to? It also seems that the conversation about who the Bible exercises authority over is heated as well. Let me address both in this post. Starting with authority of Scriptures.

In Charge of Whom?

Most Evangelicals and Fundamentalists would seem to think that the Bible is written for everyone everywhere. In a sense, that is true. Call it God’s love letter to the world, if you will. But that is a starting point. What one must remember is that the letter is in the form of covenant. If you pan through the Torah and through other books of the Bible, the love letter is being offered to everyone, whether or not they accept it.

Who is the one that accepts the Covenant? I think the answer is obviously the Christians accepting Christ as Lord. In the nature of a covenants, that means that the ones who accept the covenant are then subject to the conditions. Paul in the New Testament seems to carry this implicitly when talking about the faith of Abraham in Romans and Galatians. The point is not getting the cart before the horse in the matter. Authority is for those who accept the authority. (We must also remember that the nature of the authority in detail is not agreed upon in the Christian Church itself, but that is a post for another day.)

Origins and Process.

Now that we basically see authority in a nutshell, let’s turn to the Bible’s authority over science. This is tricky, since the Bible is not a science text-book. Many Christians will tell you that evolution cannot show you origins and is untrustworthy. This is only half-true. It definitely does not show you origins, but it does not claim to do so either. Most people get confused we they listen to Hawkins and others who say that evolution is the Grand Theory of Everything. There is a bit that evolution cannot explain, so it is not a threat to the Scriptures and neither is Science. Science is only concerned about the observable anyways, which excludes origins.

The creation story also has an even more important point. The creations accounts (yes, plural, since the two have different orders to the creation timeline) seem to focused not simply on the mechanics of creation, but on liturgy (the work of the people in worship). Liturgy here is steeped in creation so that everything someone does is subject to the worship that God requires. The Genesis accounts are more worried about how a man lives and who he is living for. Besides, if the creation accounts were just scientific, it would only be academically authoritative and not able to set the rules for living, which is a major point of the grouping of the books that it is a part of, the Torah (meaning Law in the Hebrew).

Conclusion

The Bible is the authority of the Church being the accepted love terms from God. But it has to be authoritative over our hearts. The Origin aspect of the science vs fundamentalist Christianity debate is faulty not only in that the latter does not understand the former and the former has false representation of what the latter is really supposed to believe. It is time for the Church to pick up its book and look at it as the liturgy, much like a book of prayer or a doctrinal statement, but much more powerful and useful. Once we view it as that, our understanding of ourselves will be better and our reflections of what is in us will be none other than Christ alone.

In what ways have you tried to make the Bible authoritative in your lifestyle? Or do you want to lack power and stay a textbook?

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