I have personally heard many arguments in defense of theism in my time, mostly as a response to one of my blog posts or hub page articles. It is interesting to me when I hear a theist attack scientific knowledge and refer to it as the knowledge of man. They state that the knowledge of man is always changing and is unreliable. Since man is a finite and fallible creature their arguments in this regard actually have some merit.
On the other hand, they state that God is infinite, infallible, and all knowing and his knowledge is one hundred percent reliable and true. Note that in this article I wish to address the God of the bible and this work does not address the myriad of deities that currently exist in the hearts and imaginations of their many adherents.
Christian’s claim that the source of this knowledge only exist in several works produced by over forty authors; most of whom remain anonymous to this day. Together this collection of works is known to all of us as The Holy Bible. It is the number one bestselling book every produced and continues to this day to draw believers in its many extraordinary claims.
Theists claim that the bible is without a doubt the word of God and as such it is inerrant, infallible, and the absolute truth. They even go so far as to claim that the human race as a whole derives its objective morals from the bible and that without God there would be no such thing as objective morality.
Objective knowledge is knowledge that is true whether you believe it or not. For example if you jump off of a building our knowledge of gravity tells us that you will fall fast and hard and will most likely die as a result of it. Whether you believe it or not gravity is true and it has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that it exists and that all things are subject to its forces. Subjective knowledge on the other hand is “subject” to an individual or in this case a groups interpretation of evidences that cannot be proven objectively. One example of this is the existence of God or so called spiritual experiences by believers of the many religions the world over.
I have one problem with this argument. The one objective fact about the bible is that it was written by men. The very people whose knowledge Christians condemn and refer to as fallible and finite. The bible states that: “The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of knowledge; fools spurn wisdom and discipline.” (Proverbs 1:7 NJB). Keep in mind that this statement is written by a man who claims to be inspired by God. The bible refers to the knowledge of man as the knowledge of fools. In other words according to this text without a fear of the Lord there is no knowledge since knowledge comes from the Lord.
One of the many accusations that atheists and other nonbelievers in the bible make is that the bible actually advocates the suppression of knowledge and the advancement of society. I completely agree with this accusation because the church has lived up to these principles historically as well. The various wars such as the inquisition, the laws and legislations written under the influence of the church and biblical principles, the pressure on political figures to favor religious laws and agendas, etc. Examples are the banning of birth control, abortions, cloning, stem cell research, only because these things were at odds with what they believed were Gods laws.
The Christians favorite rebuttal to an atheist is found in Psalm 14:1 or Psalm 53:1 they both actually say the exact same thing so let’s look at 53:1 The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God!' They are corrupt, vile and unjust, not one of them does right. (NJB). So this leads me to the purpose of this post. What makes theists believe that the bible although it is written by men is inspired by God? Well, first of all because the bible says so itself in the N.T. in 2 Timothy 3:16 in black and white: ‘All scripture is inspired by God and useful for refuting error, for guiding people's lives and teaching them to be upright.’ There is no refuting that claim there. In fact, even Jesus allegedly gave his endorsement of the O.T. Law and the books of the prophets in Matthew 5:17 ‘Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them.’
So in the end what makes theists differentiate the wisdom of man from the so called wisdom of God? My favorite culprit: faith; or as I affectionately refer to it as the ultimate equalizer. In order to accept that the bible is the world of God you must have faith that the men who claim it is, were telling the truth about their experiences, that while they wrote they were somehow being led or inspired by the Holy Spirit, and that considering the many edits, and translations that the bible has gone through that what we have available to us are accurate and true to the originals. In the end the bible is nothing more than the words of men. Faith which in and of itself is not a reliable means of obtaining knowledge is the only thing that determines whether you believe what you read or reject it outright.