Bible Sources: Truth or Myth (Part Two) -- By: Mark Perkins
CTSJ 11:2 (Fall 2005) p. 2
Bible Sources: Truth or Myth
Mark Perkins received a B.A. from Azusa Pacific University in 1982 and an M.Div. in New Testament from Talbot School of Theology in 1985. He served as a Cavalry Scout and Fire Detection Controller in the Army National Guard from 1986 until 1991, was ordained in 1987 at Berachah Church in Houston, Texas, and since 1988 has served as pastor of Front Range Bible Church in Denver, Colorado. Mark and his wife Rene married in 1987 and have two children, Turner, born in 1995, and Alexandra, born in 1998. They enjoy backpacking and adventuring in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
A Review of the Thesis
Nineteenth-century archaeology unearthed a wealth of information related to the Bible, and with it, numerous documents containing secular myths which had striking similarities to the Bible—similarities that were forged into weapons of criticism and deconstruction, leading many to discard their high regard for Scripture. Old Testament passages that deal with sea monsters in particular have some parallels to the ancient secular literature. Unlike the creation and flood narratives of Genesis, however, these passages have not enjoyed a vigorous apologetic defense.
The following questions need to be answered: Do these passages employ secular myths and figures? And if so, how? Carl F. H. Henry has rightly asked, “Could the God of the Bible have used myth as a literary device? Surely we must allow the sovereign God of Scripture complete freedom among the various possible means of expression. But whether God in fact used myth as a revelatory means is quite another question.”1 Later in the same discourse, he clarifies, “The basic issues reduce really to two alternatives: either man himself projects upon the world and its history a supernatural reality and activity that disallows objectively valid cognitive statements on the basis of divine disclosure, or a transcendent divine reality through intelligible revelation establishes the fact that God is actually at work in the sphere of nature and human affairs.”2
Does the Bible testify in support of the doctrine of inspiration? Can its sea monster passages be understood in light of their own contexts, apart from the finds of modern archaeology? This part of the article will attempt to answer these questions using the following two arguments: First, the God who inspired the Bible would not allow the interpretation of major passages to depend on the finds of archaeology. If He did, some passages could not have possibly been understood for centuries. Second, the contexts of the passages themselves, up to and including the whole Bible...
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