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View Full Version : Tyrel and Paprika on whether the Bible claims inerrancy



KingsGambit
02-22-2014, 07:30 PM
This is a formal debate/discussion between Tyrel and Paprika. Only these two will be allowed to post in this thread. A separate discussion thread will be started for spectator commentary. The topic will be: "Are there good reasons, on balance, to believe that the Scriptures teach themselves to be inerrant?" Tyrel will post first, followed by Paprika. Each poster will get four posts, with word length limits as follows:

Opening statements: 1000 words each.
Rebuttals: 500 words each.
Rebuttals to Rebuttals: 300 words each.
Closing statements: 400 words each.

Each poster will have 48 hours to make each response.

Tyrel
02-23-2014, 07:43 AM
I want to begin by thanking Paprika for the opportunity to have what I hope will be a very friendly and interesting exchange, as we debate on the topic “do the scriptures teach themselves to be inerrant.” As a Roman Catholic, I am inclined to believe that nothing important hangs on this debate because although I do strongly believe in inerrancy, my reasons for that belief range from its being a properly basic belief, to its being a matter of established systematic theology (dogmatics). Thus, whether one can argue with success for inerrancy from the Bible alone is an almost trivial technicality which has no significant bearing on whether the doctrine is, as a matter of fact, true.

As always in such debates the first order of business has to be a clear and conspicuous definition of terms. I will accept, for the sake of the debate, to construe ‘the Scriptures’ to exclude the deuterocanonical books (only to make every concession possible to Paprika). More difficult, perhaps, will be the definition of inerrancy. I will take the necessary and sufficient conditions of inerrancy to be (i) that it is inspired by God, (ii) that it is free of the stain of error in matters of faith, morals, history, science and, in short, everything about which it teaches. I hold a more sophisticated and elaborated view of inerrancy, but, as we will see, the dynamics of inerrancy will be not be a factor for this debate.

‘Inerrancy,’ like the word ‘Trinity,’ cannot be found in Scripture, nor can any technical theological articulation of it be found in Scripture. The question before us, however, is whether there is good reason to think that the Scriptures do teach this doctrine. What does Scripture say, after all, about itself? There’s no better place to start, I suppose, than with 2 Timothy 3:16, which says that “all scripture is inspired [θεόπνευστος] by God.” What it means to be θεόπνευστος (i.e., divinely breathed) is explained elsewhere in 2 Peter 1:21, “men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” Indeed, Christ himself is more explicit, noting that “it is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Mathew 4:4). Thus, the words of scripture are, according to scripture, divinely breathed such that they can be said to come from the mouth of God (Acts 1:16 attributes some explicitly to the person of the Holy Spirit). So, the words of Scripture are the words of God.

Is there any indication in the Bible that if some set of words is God’s set of words, it must be free of the stain of error? Perhaps; consider Psalm 12:6 “the words of the LORD are pure words” (KJV). I’ve seen טהרות translated as ‘flawless’ or without blemish, and that could lead one to read that the words of the LORD are free of error. The same word is used in Proverbs 30:5, where it reads “Every word of God is pure” (KJV), and it goes on to say in Proverbs 30:6 “Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee” which helps to highlight that the author of the proverb has the written words of God in mind. Psalm 119:89 has also been translated as “all thy commandments are of the same truth” (Jubilee Bible), thus they come with the same integrity.

Is this interpretation of these passages controversial? Not very; the Protestant theologian Adam Clarke, in his commentary on Proverbs 30:5, writes:

Every word of God is pure - כל אמרת אלוה צרופה… A metaphor taken from the purifying of metals. Every thing that God has pronounced, every inspiration which the prophets have received, is pure, without mixture of error, without dross.

Moreover, the greatest Christian authorities, from the earliest saints, to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, have held this same interpretation universally. These passages are, therefore, most plausibly interpreted as lending support to inerrancy.

I will not rest my argument here, however, since there is, I think, a more definitive argument on offer. God, scripture tells us, “cannot lie” (Titus 1:2), “for God is not the author of confusion” (1 Corinthians 14:33, KJV). However, for the scriptures to be enunciated by God with the admixture of error would qualify both as confusion for which God cannot be piously thought responsible, and, since God is omniscient (Psalm 147:5), would necessarily involve lying on God’s part; but on the contrary, scripture says “let God be true though every man were a liar” (Romans 3:4), and “your word is truth” (John 17:17). Therefore, clearly, the scriptures teach that the words of Scripture, which are the words of God, cannot be said to be in error.

With such a tidy case in favor of the Scripture teaching that Scripture is inerrant, what can my interlocutor offer in order to persuade us that there are not good reasons, on balance, to think that scripture teaches that scripture is inerrant? He must, it seems to me, do at least one of two things: first, severely undermine the interpretation I have given this constellation of passages, and second, propose a more plausible alternative interpretation of Scripture in its place which doesn’t lead to the same conclusions. Notice that Paprika cannot argue from Biblical contradictions or errors, real or apparent, since the question before us is not whether inerrancy is true, but whether it is more plausible than not that the Scriptures teach that inerrancy is true.

My argument can be summarized, somewhat enthymematically:
1. The words of scripture are the words of God.
2. God is omniscient and cannot lie.
3. If any words of God are not true, and God is omniscient, then they represent a lie from God.
4. However, from (2) God doesn’t lie, and therefore, from (3) not any of the words of God are not true.
5. Inerrancy if and only if not any of the words of God are not true.
6. Therefore, Inerrancy.

Paprika
02-24-2014, 05:03 AM
To start off, I would like to thank Tyrel for agreeing to participate in this debate. Also, my gratitude to KingsGambit for setting this up, as well as a shoutout to the old man (thanks for the feedback, we’ll set up things better next time!)

Indeed, Scripture self-attests to its truth and accuracy for a majority proportion of the texts. But does this self-attestation extend to all of Scripture? Operating with Tyrel’s definition, I will first refute my opponent’s argument and then proceed to counter a common argument for inerrancy based on θεόπνευστο θεόπνευστος.

My opponent tries to establish that [all] the words of Scripture are the words of God (point 1). Indeed, some are, but are they all? He quotes 2 Peter 1:21 but leaves out the preceding clause, which establishes that Peter is speaking of prophecy and not Scripture in general. In fact, the preceding sentence makes it explicitly clear that Peter is speaking of prophecy as a proper subset of Scripture, for he says, “no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” A similar counterargument would apply to the quote of Christ from Matthew: does Christ identify all Scripture as ‘word of God’? He does not. And as for Proverbs 30:6, yes, the speaker is probably referring to written words of God, but that does not imply in any way that all Scripture, written or not, are the words of God.

I conclude that there is no explicit or implicit equation of all Scripture as words of God thus Tyrel’s argument to establish point 1 is incomplete. And with point 1 unsupported, the cogency of the whole argument is destroyed. My case can rest here. But this, of course, takes care of only one argument. Let us now consider θεόπνευστος from 2 Timothy, which interpretation is, I believe, the crux of disagreement over inerrancy.

In just about every case for inerrancy θεόπνευστος is used as support, and many follow these approach: θεόπνευστος, God-breathed means inspired by God, and God’s word is perfect, therefore inerrancy. Let us examine the implicit premise in the argument. The argument assumes that the whole creative activity behind Scripture belongs to God, even the erotic love song of Solomon and the personal epistles of Paul and John. This premise is unsupported, and thus weakens the argument. I further submit that given the personal aspect of some of the works of Scripture the premise is clearly false: the authors do contribute to the creative process of crafting the text, they do have their own motivations, they are not a scribe of God who took dictation, writing down only what God has communicated to him to say.

Once we dislodge this premise by noting that both God and the human writer worked creatively on the text, what can we say about Scripture’s truth and reliability? God is infallible but man is not. We do not know the exact mechanism of how both contributed to the creative act, why then should we assume that God would have prevented the man from erring at all, even on the minutiae? Could God have done so? Absolutely. But did He? To shed light on this issue, I propose we look at another interaction of the Spirit with men. Specifically, I will examine the working of the Spirit and man to live a life pleasing to God.

Does not the Spirit indwell those in Christ, influencing them to do good and to refrain from evil? But yet do we not still sin? To quote Luther, believers are simul iustus et peccator; we indeed sin. We are not prevented from all moral error - we often do what we should not do or omit doing that which we should do. So then, if God does not prevent all moral errors, must God necessarily have prevented all errors in the Scriptures?

Before we return to θεόπνευστος, I must point out an essential hermeneutical principle. If more than one valid interpretation is allowed by a text (by the grammar, the diction, the context, etc.), it is quite all right to single one out and say that it is a valid interpretation. But to say that the text establishes one of these interpretations without using additional data (whether it be another Scripture, lexical data from other texts, studies on a certain grammatical construction and so on) to disconfirm other valid interpretations or confirm the preferred interpretation is to beg the question.

θεόπνευστοσς. Can it mean what my opponent argues, that all Scripture is “inspired by God” and “free of the stain of error in matters of faith, morals, history, science and, in short, everything about which it teaches.” Yes. But can it merely mean it is “inspired of God”, in terms of partial divine creative origin? Absolutely. So we have two possible interpretations, and the principle applies.

Before I end, God is “not the author of confusion but of peace”(Tyrel leaves out the underlined in his quoting). Contextually, this extract from 1 Corinthians does not bear the weight Tyrel tries to put on it. As other translations make clear, Paul is rebuking the confusion or (as other translations word it) the “disorder” created when people exercise their gifts in chaotic fashion, and is not saying that no confusion can be rightfully attributed to God. For is it not written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart”? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? (1 Corinthians 1:19,20)

To close, Tyrel’s argument stumbles at point 1 and the whole edifice collapses. Equally importantly, if it cannot be shown why θεόπνευστος should have the meaning imputed to it in many inerrancy arguments and not other possible and valid meanings, 2 Tim 3:16 does not form a good reason to believe that the Scriptures teach themselves to be inerrant.

Tyrel
02-25-2014, 07:43 PM
“For as the substantial Word of God became like to men in all things, except sin, so the words of God, expressed in human language, are made like to human speech in every respect, except error.”
~Pope Pius XII

I want to begin by thanking Paprika for his very stimulating opening statement. You’ll all recall that the topic under debate in this thread is whether there are, on balance, good reasons to believe that the scriptures profess themselves to be inerrant. I have argued that there are good reasons, on balance, to believe that the Scriptures teach themselves to be the words of God, and, in turn, that there are good reasons to believe that the Scriptures teach that if some set of words is God’s set of words, then they (can) involve no admixture of error.

How has Paprika decided to respond in the challenging space which was allotted to him? He says: “my opponent tries to establish that [all] the words of Scripture are the words of God (point 1). Indeed, some are, but are they all? He quotes 2 Peter 1:21 but leaves out the preceding clause,…” this is where I wish offer my first rejoinder. The way my argument is intended to proceed is not from 2 Peter 1:21, but from 2 Timothy 3:16, which says that “all scripture is inspired [θεόπνευστος] by God.” I then suggested that the best analysis of what it means to say that scripture is divinely breathed is captured in the expressions of scripture itself, such as the expressions in 2 Peter 1:21 or Acts 1:16. The more forceful expression, which I intended to highlight, was the expression of Christ, where he refers to the scriptures as words which come from the mouth of God (see Matthew 4:4). I would find it somewhat surprising if Paprika were to suggest that Jesus had only prophesies (or only Torah) in mind in Matthew 4:4, but more to the point, if Paprika wishes to argue that Jesus is here entertaining some distinction between the words of scripture which come from the mouth of God, and the words of scripture which do not, then the challenge for him will be to provide us with some good (scriptural) reasons to think that this distinction is recognized by scripture. Otherwise, even if he were right, I will have established my first point of contention as successfully as one can reasonably hope to do.

Perhaps it is worth taking a moment to review where the goal-posts are in this debate. I do not have to argue that there are not alternative (non-inerrantist) theologies of scripture which can account for the scriptural passages at hand. I do not have to argue that those other theologies are incorrect, or even implausible. All I have to do, in order to be successful in this debate, is argue to the effect that there are some good reasons to think that the scriptures teach themselves to be inerrant, and that there are not comparably good reasons to think that the scriptures teach themselves to be ‘errant’ in the relevant sense, which is that defined in my opening address. This, and nothing less modest, is what I intend to establish.

To return, then, to Paprika’s opening address, he says “I conclude that there is no explicit or implicit equation of all Scripture as words of God;” in response, I have only to highlight again that all scripture is inspired, and what it means for scripture to be inspired seems to be that it proceeds from the mouth of God. Brian Edwards, writing for Answers-In-Genesis (http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2011/07/05/believe-in-the-inerrancy-of-scripture) argues that “It is significant that the word [theopneustos] is used in 2 Timothy 3:16 passively. In other words, God did not “breathe into” (inspire) all Scripture, but it was “breathed out” by God (expired).” This makes the point more forcefully that Scripture’s view of itself is that it all proceeds from the mouth of God.

Now, I take it that it is well established that God is omniscient (see Psalm 147:5), and so I take it that if anything God says is untrue, then it is a lie. However, Scripture seems unambiguous that God “cannot lie” (Titus 1:2). In addition to this quintessential point, I noted that other scriptures seem to carry the same sensus fidei insofar as they insinuate or say that “every word of God is pure” (Proverbs 30:5) and His “word is truth” (John 17:17). Thus, it seems to me that we have established that (i’) all the words of scripture are inspired, (ii’) X is inspired if and only if X comes from the mouth of God, (iii’) for any W, if W comes from the mouth of God then W is and must be true. My evidence for (i’) is from 2 Timothy 3:16, my evidence for (ii’) comes from the expressions in scripture which describe the nature of inspired text, and my evidence for (iii’) comes from God’s omniscience and his inability to lie.

You’ll recall that I argued that Paprika has to do at least one of two things, the first being undermining the classical view of scripture as inerrant, and the second being proposing a more viable alternative in its place. With respect to the first, Paprika, on my reading, has candidly accepted the viability of the classical view, and simply suggested that it is on a par with at least one other (namely, his alternative view). I have spent most of this first rebuttal reviewing the scriptural evidence in favor of the thesis that Scripture teaches the doctrine of inerrancy. There may be only ‘bad’ evidence, but there is at least some evidence. Thus, what I would invite Paprika to do is to give us comparably good arguments, from Scripture, to believe that Scripture teaches ‘errancy.’ Unless and until he does that, it seems to me that the reasons, however poor, for affirming inerrancy, suffice to establish that it is more reasonable than not to believe that Scripture teaches inerrancy.

Paprika
02-27-2014, 07:52 AM
My thanks to Tyrel for his thought-provoking rebuttal. It is, I think, best to clarify my aim: to show that there is insufficient Scriptural evidence for inerrancy. That would suffice to support the stance that the Scriptures do not self-attest as inerrant. I do not, as Tyrel has suggested, have to argue for errancy to make my case.

I am surprised that to interpret θεόπνευστος, God-breathed, Tyrel turns to Scriptures about utterances, emphasising Matthew 4:4. Surely to interpret θεόπνευστος one should turn to the passages relating God and His breath: Genesis 2:7 with God breathing the breath of life into Adam, Psalm 104:29-30 where God’s breath brings recreating the dead animals, Ezekiel 31 in which God breathes life into dead bones – a resurrection metaphor for the restoration of Israel, John 20:22, when Jesus “breathed” on His disciples and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit”, among others. In all these references God’s breath refers to that which gives and sustain life – it may mean more, but it does not mean anything less.

Allow me to digress to rebut the point on Matthew 4:4. Tyrel says that when quoting Jesus was referring to the scriptures as “words which come from the mouth of God”. Clearly this is not so. Jesus does not refer to 'the Scriptures' at all; Tyrel is merely reading into the text what is not present. Jesus quotes Moses speaking to the Israelites in Deuteronomy, “And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord”. Of course, when manna was first sent there was not written word of God. There was no Scripture. There were only the words of God as spoken through Moses and Aaron. Jesus in the wilderness like Israel for 40 days instead of 40 years, when tempted to break his fast, instead quotes Moses. This shows his obedience to God; in the Matthean narrative Jesus is the faithful Israel. Now given all this, if Tyrel wishes to use Jesus’ quoting to interpret θεόπνευστος, I submit that the usage is unjustified. What about his other two references, that of Acts 1:16 and 2 Peter 1:21? These do make some sense because of the word for breath and spirit is the same in both Hebrew and Greek, though as noted in my opening statement these references speak only of prophecy, a subset of Scripture, and are thus hardly conclusive when speaking of all Scripture.

Back to θεόπνευστος, while God’s breath refers to that which gives and sustain life, there is also an emphasis on life and the promise of it in the epistle to Timothy, not only in the superscriptio (1:1), but also in the body of the text (1:10, 2:8-11). While I agree that θεόπνευστος implies creative origin from God, the strong prima facie possibility of θεόπνευστος indicating the Scripture as life-giving cannot be ignored and needs to be addressed.

But Tyrel would have all Scripture as originating only from God. This stance does not address key points made in my opening statement: that not only are the Scriptures written down by man, but some of the Scriptures are personal letters. He has not addressed why a collaborative creative effort between the perfect God and imperfect man should be inerrant in the same way words from God should be. As long as Tyrel does not address this issue, I submit he has not made his case.

It is possible to go further, however, and show that Tyrel’s claim that all Scripture comes from the mouth of God creates a contradiction about the source of a part of the Scriptures. Paul, in his first epistle to the Corinthians, prefixes one of his commands with, “I say (I, not the Lord)” (7:12). This stands in contrast to the prefix of an earlier command, “I give this charge (not I, but the Lord)” (7:10). Paul creates an obvious distinction between the original source and thus the authority of the two commands. Consider, however, that in the next chapter Paul includes Jesus in his reworking of the Shema, identifying Jesus with God. Why then does Paul make the distinction in the previous chapter? If the command in (7:12) is the word of God according to Tyrel, it is thus from the Lord, so why does Paul indicate that it is not?

To conclude, Tyrel’s case is nonexistent. His case absolutely requires that all Scriptures are words of God. Not only is does this lead to a strong contradiction about the source of the command in 1 Corinthians 7:12, his usage of Matthew 4:4 to interpret θεόπνευστος is unwarranted and contraindicated by the context. Furthermore, some parts of Scripture are highly personal in nature, so the implicit premise that the only source of Scripture is God is clearly false. The fact that fallible man composed the Scriptures in part must be faced. Until then, there clearly isn’t any good reason to believe the Scriptures self-attest to inerrancy.

Tyrel
02-28-2014, 09:36 PM
Paprika has managed to impress me by offering a really commendable critique in a very short space. This critique consists of three main points: (1) that expressions such as that of Matthew 4:4 do not lend credence to the view that what it means (for scripture) to be divinely breathed is that it proceeds from the mouth of God, (2) that the term θεόπνευστος applied to scripture has no connotation of scripture’s being spoken by God, and (3) that there really is at least one passage of scripture which may justify a distinction, recognized by scripture, between words of scripture which are words of God, and words of scripture which are not. I mean, here, to address these points in turn.

First, concerning Jesus’ expression in Matthew 4:4, Paprika’s suggestion seems to be that “Jesus does not refer to 'the Scriptures' at all.” The reason for this is that Jesus is repeating an expression of Moses, and Moses used the expression before there were any scriptures written under inspiration. Since, the argument goes, there were no scriptures to which Moses could refer, Moses could not in principle have used the expression in a sense which would refer to scripture, and hence neither could/would Christ. I wonder, in passing, why the two tablets with the Ten Commandments couldn’t count as scripture in the relevant sense. More to the point, however, just as the Word of God is codified in oral Tradition, it is also codified in written Tradition (thus, 1 Thessalonians 2:15). I see no reason to think that Jesus could not have intended to include either instantiation of God’s word, and, in fact, plausibly have had the written codification of the Word of God in mind by his expression. One reason to think that Jesus’ statement was intentionally applied to the written scriptures comes from the context of Matthew 4, in which Jesus responds to temptation by constant appeal to the written Scriptures, and takes them in place of food. It seems to me, therefore, that Jesus is very plausibly treating those written scriptures as ‘words from the mouth of God.’

With respect to the term θεόπνευστος implying only that all scripture is life-giving instead of (also) that it proceeds from the mouth of God, the point strikes me as somewhat incredulous. The very grammar of the term does insinuate that Scripture is breathed out by God, and that seems to be enough to license the belief that Scripture, according to Scripture, proceeds from the mouth of God. At least this is a natural reading, in contrast to which it remains true, in my submission, that no other reading is more plausible.
With respect to the third point, it seems to me that there is a rather crude (mis)understanding of the classical Christian doctrine of inerrancy lurking in the background of this objection. The classical account would simply maintain that the whole work is written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that Paul’s distinction is between his directions, as episcopal leader of the Church, and Christ’s universal (‘Catholic’) directions. Both of these are enunciated under inspiration, such that even Paul’s directions are recorded, as Paul’s, under the influence of inspiration. There is, thus, no distinction of the kind needed here.

A quick final point with which I will end this rebuttal: the notes in Psalm 12:6, and in Proverbs 30:5, are clearly not about prophesies, but about the laws of Torah. However, if even words about gardening regulations (and such-like) are, according to Scripture, words spoken by God, then what words of Scripture would not be, and why?

Paprika
03-02-2014, 09:08 AM
Tyrel continues to raise interesting and pointed rebuttals. In this response, I will be addressing each one in sequence.

Addressing Matthew 4:4, Tyrel says that “It seems to me, therefore, that Jesus is very plausibly treating those written scriptures as ‘words from the mouth of God.” Granting this for the sake of argument, Jesus quoted only three short extracts from written Scripture. Hence, Tyrel’s argument that Jesus was referring to all the written Scriptures as ‘words from the mouth of God’ is not cogent. It is certainly possible that Jesus had this idea in mind. But mere possibility isn't sufficient for Tyrel to make his case.

As regards to θεόπνευστος, Tyrel continues to hold to a literal interpretation based on the etymology of the word. While I acknowledged in my rebuttal above that “I agree that θεόπνευστος implies creative origin from God”, I have also shown that a primary meaning of θεόπνευστος should be ‘life-giving’. Also, the literal interpretation that God is the sole origin of all Scripture is false, as I have shown, because of the personal nature of many works of the Bible. This understanding is untenable; we must instead seek another with the creative origin of some of the Scriptures as both God and the human author, and seriously deal with the fact that man, being imperfect, may have erred when writing the Scriptures.

Though not essential to my stance, I still maintain that Tyrel’s argument for inerrancy does create a contradiction in 1 Corinthians 7. He claims that

“The classical account would simply maintain that the whole work is written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that Paul’s distinction is between his directions, as episcopal leader of the Church, and Christ’s universal (‘Catholic’) directions. Both of these are enunciated under inspiration, such that even Paul’s directions are recorded, as Paul’s, under the influence of inspiration. There is, thus, no distinction of the kind needed here.”
The immediate question, of course, is why does Paul create a distinction if both commands are from God and have equal authority? In verse 6 Paul writes, “Now as a concession, not a command, I say this”, showing that he recognises that his own authority is limited. Furthermore, in verse 25, he writes “Now concerning the betrothed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy.” If, as Tyrel argues, “the whole work is written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit”, then why does Paul say his command is not from the Lord, especially since the Spirit of God is the Spirit of Christ?

Tyrel’s final point seems to me to be the weakest. As I understand it, the implied argument runs thus: it would be expected that some Scriptures are not words spoken by God, but since they are, then it should be expected that all of Scripture are words spoken by God. This simply isn’t a valid argument at all.

Tyrel
03-09-2014, 01:15 PM
“Your Word is truth” ~John 17:12

Is God’s inspiration a guarantor of truth? In this debate I have argued that this question can be answered by attending to an analysis of what it means for something to be divinely breathed. I have argued that a careful and responsible approach to Scripture reveals that there are good reasons to believe that Scripture teaches (i) that something is inspired if and only if it can be said to be breathed out of the mouth of God, (ii) that all scripture is inspired, and (iii) that nothing breathed out of the mouth of God can involve the admixture of error. I believe that each of these contentions is more reasonable than not.

I believe that I have pretty well established the affirmative as well as I can, so rather than rehearse my arguments, I would rather use my concluding comments to bring the topic of this debate back into focus. Recall that the question under dispute between Paprika and myself has been “are there good reasons, on balance, to think that the Scriptures teach the doctrine of inerrancy?” Notice that the debate is not over whether Scripture does teach that the doctrine of inerrancy is true, but whether there are better arguments for thinking so than thinking not. As I review the arguments presented, I notice that there has been a conspicuous absence of reasons to think that the Scriptures teach anything about themselves which is incompatible with inerrancy (i.e., ‘errancy’). What we have been treated to so far, it seems to me, has been an elaborate argument for the affirmative, and a sustained critique of that argument. In particular we’ve heard reasons to doubt the first contention outlined above, that what it means for something to be divinely breathed is that it comes from the mouth of God. However, whether the arguments for this first contention are good is besides the question at hand; the question is, are the arguments for it better than the arguments to the contrary? However, we have not heard a positive case for the contrary, so it seems to me that I have made my case as well as could reasonably have been hoped for, and I leave it to you the spectators to decide for yourselves what worth these arguments have.

I will end by thanking Paprika for making this debate so enjoyable.

Paprika
03-11-2014, 09:44 AM
In closing, I have shown to the best of my ability that Scripture does not claim itself to be inerrant as defined by Tyrel. To summarise: with respect to the argument he has used, I have demonstrated that Scripture does not self-attest as being “words of God”- in part, yes, but not in whole. Hence, his case is incomplete. In addition, the key crux of θεόπνευστος is not conclusive at all with regards to inerrancy, and thus there is no real Scriptural evidence for inerrancy.

This said, I must take issue with how Tyrel has recasted the debate. The question is whether there is any good reason, on balance, to believe that the Scriptures teach themselves to be inerrant. Tyrel contends the affirmative. The opposing stance is that there is no good reason on balance to believe in inerrancy and not that there is any good reason to believe in not-inerrancy, or errancy. My argument is the former: that there is no good Scriptural reason to believe inerrancy, and if it is successful, I have made my case.

It has been a most pleasant debate and I’ll like to thank Tyrel for participating.