Truth Or Fiction
© 07.24.17 By D. Eric Williams
This article appeared in the July 27 edition of the Cottonwood Chronicle
Recently I began online graduate studies with a "nationally known university." The delivery of the program comes through videos, articles and books. Students respond to the material in writing and post it on the program's online "blackboard."
A recent video series on the Old Testament claimed the Pentateuch to be the work of an exilic committee in fifth century BC Babylon. The "experts" confidently stated that Adam, Abraham and the other patriarchs, Moses and Joshua, et al, are fictitious and were created to provide the Jewish people with an agreeable "backstory." Indeed, these scholars say the Israelites were never enslaved in Egypt and never engaged in a conquest of the Promised Land. In fact, these academics claim the nation of Israel was really just a group of disenfranchised Canaanites who adopted a little known Moabite god originally called Yahoo (I'm not making this up) and carved out a minor kingdom for themselves in Canaan.
My written response to the video series was a reasonable defense of the orthodox understanding of Old Testament history. As a result, the instructor proposed awarding me a "0" on the paper because I was "uncharitable" in saying the historical revisionism of the videos undermined the Christian faith. The instructor went on to say that all the people who taught in the program shared the theological views presented in the videos. Thus, my attack on the doctrine of the film was an attack on the entire graduate program of this "well-known university." Whoops.
The instructor also told me the view in the videos was not inconsistent with a love of the Lord Jesus and a love for the Bible. Apparently, if the first five books of the Bible are fiction one can still find value in them for their spiritual quality.
But is that true? Does the revisionist approach to the Old Testament have no impact on the Christian faith? The answer is, of course, it has an impact. And the impact is wholly negative.
In the first place, if there was no actual living human being created by God out of the dust called Adam, then there is no need for an actual living eschaton Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45). If there is no original sin committed by Man, then there is no need for a sacrifice of the Son of Man (Romans 5:12-18, 1 Corinthians 15:22). If there was no original human being charged with care and dominion of creation, then there are no grounds for the universal lordship for the First Born of creation (Colossians 1:15).
Moreover, if there was no Abraham, then there were never a chosen people to bless the whole earth (Genesis 12:1-3). If Abraham is a construct of an exilic committee, then there is no promised seed of Abraham who is the true heir according to the covenant promise (Galatians 3:16). And if Abraham is an invention then our salvation in Christ is fiction as well, for, if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise (Galatians 3:29).
Indeed, if the Old Testament is an unreliable witness, then the New Testament is more so and Jesus and the New Testament authors are either liars or fools; they all accept the Old Testament as the inspired, inerrant Word of God, historically accurate and factually sound.
If the Old Testament is fictitious, there is no amount of scholarly tap dancing or high sounding "spiritual talk" that can salvage the Christian faith. We either accept the Old Testament (and the New Testament) as being without error or contradiction or we go shopping for a new religion. I for one remain steadfast in the belief that the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, is the only inspired, inerrant, infallible, authoritative Word of God written. There is no other acceptable point of view.