A Musing on Historical-Criticism of the Bible

One of the great problems with the historical-critical method when it comes to the Bible, is that it denies supernatural reality and revelation de facto. It messes up the whole history of Israel in the Old Testament because it begins from a vantage point which denies the possibility of divine revelation, so it seeks alternative explanations as to the origin of Israel’s religion. Rather than Hebrew religion being a divine gift to Abraham and Moses and their followers, historical-criticism reduces it to a slowly evolving and developing religion that began as a mixture of various beliefs and practices adopted from other nations and cultures. Why? Because historical-criticism cannot believe in revealed religion. It is not within its purview.

That is exactly where the historical-critical method loses its explanatory power. The fact is that Israel’s religion was revealed by God. It did not evolve out of Canaanite religious practices or beliefs of random Ancient Near Eastern peoples. God actually revealed himself to his people and gave them a way to seek him. Since the historical-critical method cannot admit this, being beyond the bounds of secular science, it fails to explain the importance of the Bible. It is brilliant at dissecting the parts and pieces of the Bible–explaining words and archeology and geography. But it cannot tell you why to read the Bible, how it will change your life or why the Bible makes a difference in the real world.

But the Bible will change your life, not because it is an interesting ancient book, but because it is the word of God to man. It is God’s instructions to you about life, death and meaning. Pick it up and read it, not for a perusal of Ancient Near Eastern religious practices, but for spiritual life from the God who loves you.

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