The other day, I posted the following tweet:
Atheists who dismiss the Bible as “iron age fables” should invest a month studying a single book of the Bible by reading a range of biblical commentaries, monographs, and articles on that book. They will come to appreciate that much more is going on than they realized, guaranteed
— Tentative Apologist (@RandalRauser) February 12, 2020
My tweet predictably elicited many responses from atheists who said that they had studied the Bible extensively and had concluded that it isn’t inspired. That, however, missed my modest point. All I said was that those who dismiss it as “iron age fables” (a mere bit of dismissive rhetoric) will recognize that “much more is going on than they realized”. That’s all.
Another predictable reply was an incredulous question/objection that the text lacks the kind of clarity and precision that we would expect of a communication from God. For example,
Nothing says divinely inspired like a need for 1800 years of esoteric reinterpretation and apologia.
— The Oranges of Species (@CapalTunnel) February 13, 2020
Let’s put it another way: this question and comment express skepticism of divine inspiration of the Bible based on the fact that it has spawned a fascinating, enduring conversation among great minds.
But why is that a problem? On the contrary, I’d expect God’s Words to do precisely that. If the great works of the most brilliant human authors spawn labyrinth and endlessly stimulating dialogues and debates, why would we expect any less from God’s Words?
Indeed, the word “Israel” means to struggle with God. And that’s just what the Bible invites us to do.