Volume 92, Issue 88

Tuesday, March 16, 1999


Bible is not factual, but is still true

Blind faith makes flawed defence

CFS poster child

The Gazette is a shocking paper

Disfigured flags are a disgrace

Insults to promote hate

Bible is not factual, but is still true

Re: Don't rely on the word of the Bible, March 4

To the Editor:
A certain native elder is said to have begun the stories of his tradition with these words: "I don't know if it happened exactly this way, but I do know that this story is true."

As people of the 20th century, who have been so successful at proving and verifying so much, we run the risk of ruling out the mysterious wisdom and truth of ancient stories because the people who wrote them had a limited world view – not having the benefits of our modern understanding of the universe.

The current discussion on the "truth" of the Bible is a good one, but maybe we should differentiate between the words "true" and "factual." Is the Bible completely factual? I would say, of course not. But is it inspired by God? I believe it is. Is it contradictory? Contrary to J. Johnston, I would suggest of course, but I would also suggest that the contradictions are intentional.

For example, there is a strong voice in the Bible that calls for orderliness and purity. There is an equally strong voice that calls for loving relationships and mercy and justice.

Often these voices are in conflict with each other, but wise ones who put the canon together realized the debate was essential for "truth" to be realized in different situations – so both are given space. Within the New Testament too, there are the Four Gospels, each one painting quite a different picture of Jesus and choosing to tell different stories and in a different order. But each one reveals valuable "truths" about Jesus and about the nature of God.

I do not see the Bible as either a science book or a recording of historical facts, although it does contain interpretations of some historical events. It is more importantly for me, an unfolding of a people's relationship with God and their evolving understanding of the nature of God. Within it is much "truth," much wisdom and much spiritual food by which I am nourished and guided.

I welcome the dialogue.

Lynn Godfrey
UWO Chaplain

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Copyright The Gazette 1999