But back to the point: the Bible changes. The percentage of Americans who believe that the Bible is literally true is large, but hard to pin down. I’ve seen numbers as high as 60% and as low as 10%, which raises a bunch of questions about those polls, but they’re beside the point. I’m curious as to how those people, however numerous, would respond to the fact that the Bible is different, in some cases very different, now than it was two-thousand years ago.
Because I can only see three possibilities:
- God inspired the Bible then inspired the changes.
- God inspired the Bible but men changed it.
- Men created the Bible and men changed it.
None of those possibilities bode well for literalists. The first is the best, but why would God change the book that he wrote? Maybe it’s just me, but that doesn’t make much sense. If God is perfect then why would his works need editing? Possibility two is worse, given that it means that man messed up what God wrote, but the basic message is probably still there. This is still problematic, because why wouldn’t God stop man from mangling his works?
The third possibility is the absolute worst, since it takes God completely out of the equation, and makes the Bible no more important than The Epic of Gilgamesh or the proverbs of Ahikar the Wise, or Moby Dick (the first two were picked as they predate the parts of the Bible to which they bear striking resemblance). This is also the most plausible, and it’s the conclusion that most Biblical scholars, like Bart D. Ehrman, reach. Ehrman wrote a book called Misquoting Jesus about this very topic.
The Bible is undoubtedly an important book, but not because it’s the word of God.