Monday, February 02, 2009

The Metaphysics of Scripture

There seem to be countless ways of reconciling Scripture to the world we see around us. Just this morning I've skimmed articles on Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology (which differ as to whether Old Testament prophecies of Israel tell the future of Jews or Christians) and on Noah's Flood (was it a real, world-wide event or just God's "accommodation" of ancient Near Eastern myths?).

In the early nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it was all the rage to limit Scripture to "religious" truth and leave the "real world" to science. In the 1800s, Schleiermacher handed "truth" over to science but gave religion the whole realm of "feeling." In the 1900s, the logical positivists argued that Nature gave us "facts," while Scripture gave us "values."

It is tempting to limit Scripture to the realm of "faith and practice," but that retreat is not strategic: with one google search I could click to the fierce egalitarian/complementarian or sexual orientation debates. Where now is the practice of monogamous marriage for life? Where now is the faith in the God who created one man and one woman and joined them in a type of Christ's union with His Bride? It seems like "faith" and "practice" and "values" are just as vulnerable to erosion as the age of the Earth or the extent of Noah's Flood.

I suspect that each of us places Scripture within some metaphysical framework (whether we recognize it or not, and that out metaphysics of Scripture drives our interpretation of it.

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