Some Historical Thoughts

Those who know me well know that I am interested in history, and that, in particular, I have a passion for the Roman Empire. That actually links quite neatly to my beliefs as a christian, and I find it enlightening to think of scripture in the light of the little bit of ancient history with which I'm familiar, and to consider, sometimes, how one has affected the other.

I've been considering a couple of things lately. One is the infallibility (or inerrancy - I'm not about to dive into the difference here and now) of scripture. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says:

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

I feel a tug in at least two directions. My old Pentecostal self inclines to the view that scripture must all be absolutely true, every last word (at least as it was originally written - let's not get into whether it's possible to translate the ancient languages accurately into English), and that if I cast doubt on one part of scripture, the whole edifice is liable to come tumbling down around my ears. But I am a physicist and I find (for example) the creation story hard to reconcile with the physical evidence I seem to see before me. But what if the creation story in Genesis merely represents all of the 'truth' that mankind was capable of understanding when it was written? I certainly subscribe to the view that God created the world - I'm happy enough with the notion that, if the 'Big Bang' theory is correct (which it may or may not be!), God was the one who 'spoke the word' and set it all in motion, exploding and/or expanding. But that account is rather different from that put forward in Genesis. And that's only one example, and not really very important in the grand scheme of things - it's hardly fundamental to the christian faith.

Copyright Phil Hendry, 2022