What is Divine Inspiration and how did the Bible come to be the Bible
As a Christian you start with Paul
2 Timothy 3:16, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness". The word inspiration Christians point out means God-breathed.
Christians cannot believe their luck. Here are 66 books that so wonderfully fit together and there were 40 authors over such an expanse of time, each one revealing more and more truth, explaining the deep mysteries of the Almighty God. How wonderfully they fit together just like a puzzle. This is evidence of its divine inspiration.
God spoke to his servant, prophet, disciple through visions and dreams. Moses got as close as you can get. He saw God in a burning bush and up on Mt Sinai. Daniel was given dreams. Paul was struck down by a vision. The 12 apostles lived with the human form of God himself, Jesus. So these men, not women, were touched by Divine Inspiration. When they wrote their individual books of the Bible they were going from these experiences. They were filled with the Holy Spirit. God slapped them with some knowledge nuggets and we are the beneficiaries. Some Christians believe because humans were involved some errors slipped into the text. Fundamentalist call this mockingly the 'Dumb God Theory'. They cling to this almighty vision of the Almighty God and simply state they do not serve a dumb god. Believing it does not make it so. But remember the foundation of their faith is in order to get into heaven ALL you have to do is believe that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior. So the foundation of their entire religion is based on wishful thinking. Take that away and the whole deck of cards fall.
We live in a wonderful age. So many discoveries have been made in all fields of science. One critical to this study is archeology. The most devoted archeologist have been Jewish and Christian looking desperately for any evidence to show that their Book is in fact true. For decades people have thought they have found Noah's ark. But year after year they cannot produce it even though they think they have the spot found but it turns out it is just an odd rock formation. No one has been able to find the city of Jericho. Not one shred of evidence can be found for the four decade story of the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. With the so many incredible miracles in the story one would expect some reference outside the Bible. How noteworthy would it be that every first born of every family died the same night or the Red Sea split in two. For the story of Jericho no other tribe of humanity noticed the sun stopped in the middle of the sky. There were many astrologers back then. It would be something of note. The list goes on and perhaps I will blog more about it another day.
How the Bible was put together has more evidence of human inspiration than divine inspiration. Most Christians do not realize that there were hundreds of "books" considered for the Bible, but only 66 made it into the Bible as most of us know it today. Archeology uncovered these lost books. Some were known about by only by references. The Bible even mentions a few. It is estimated than there were around 500 lost books and about 50 of them were gospels like Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
The early Christian church was breaking into lots of factions, not unlike we have today. There was no Bible but individual books floating about. It was quite an ordeal to get a book because every one had to be painstakingly hand copied. This copying also invited unintentional and intentional mistakes. Fundamentalist are disturbed by this and pretend not to hear it. Unfortunately for them the earliest manuscripts were missing some stories, showing they were later added by a scribe who thought it fit well into the book. John 8:1-11 is such an example. The go and sin no more story.
Marcion was the first to canonize the Bible (140 AD), a very wealthy believer. He hated the Old Testament and wanted to do away with that angry God. His version of the New Testament was a bit of a hack job. So all this splitting and controversy continued. One strong faction was the Gnostics. They didn't believe so much in the physical world and felt each human was divine. There is a very interesting lost (but found) book called The Gospel according to Mary Magdalene. She is in the New Testament and had a special connection with Jesus. The lost gospel portrays Mary M. as the closest to Jesus and the blest leader even over Peter. A WOMAN!! The Gnostics were not misogynist, but viewed women and men as equals. How progressive.
Anyway, this continued until Emperor Constantine saw a vision of a cross as he was about to go into battle and was converted to Christianity. He won the battle. He saw all this confusion going on and called Christian leaders far and wide and told them they need to get their shit together. Since most of the leaders were misogynist they favored the writings of Paul and they also were very hierarchical which was the structure of the Roman empire so they favored the terror of the Old Testament. Therefore the argument about how amazingly well the books of the Bible fit together is belied by a group of learned men with like minds reviewing hundreds of books and picking the ones they regard as true making for a very human case for why the books of the Bible apparently fit together. After they agreed an edict went out that only these 66, give or take, a few books were divinely inspired and EVERYTHING else must be burned. Many of these costly and precious books were burned but some believers loved them so much they buried them in jars for our generation to discover.
The outcome of all this was the basis for the Catholic church which held rein throughout the DARK Ages. The masses were illiterate and had to rely on priests to tell them the mysteries of God. The Bible was translated into Latin and since that became a dead language it became a priesthood language. The scientific development of the printing press started the reformation. People could now get copies and translations were made. Instead of relying on the Church or a priest they now could read and think for themselves. This of course undid what Constantine established and the the factions resurfaced. With all due respect to my fellow blogger, Human Ape, I say the development of the printing press and the translation of the Bible is the single cell organism that ultimately will kill God. We can see for ourselves the contradictions and the flaws of the Bible if we read it with an open mind and not read the Christian mumbo-jumbo trying to explain all the bizarre text. Many will stubbornly hold on. It took the Catholic church almost 400 years to apologize to Galileo. The Catholic Church condemned heliocentrism as "false and contrary to Scripture" in February 1616. It wasn't until October 1992, Pope John Paul II expressed regret for how the Galileo affair was handled, and issued a declaration acknowledging the errors committed by the Church. So that is embarrassing long, right? There are still Christians around who cling to the Bible-based earth-centric view.
Here is one such sad case that was written in May 2007
The dying breaths of a very Dark time in human history.