Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain

Bathwater, Babies and Bundles

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FROM THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

Chapter One, Article 3, Section II. Inspiration and Truth of Sacred Scripture

105 God is the author of Sacred Scripture. “The divinely revealed realities, which are contained and presented in the text of Sacred Scripture, have been written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.”
“For Holy Mother Church, relying on the faith of the apostolic age, accepts as sacred and canonical the books of the Old and the New Testaments, whole and entire, with all their parts, on the grounds that, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author, and have been handed on as such to the Church herself.”
106 God inspired the human authors of the sacred books. “To compose the sacred books, God chose certain men who, all the while he employed them in this task, made full use of their own faculties and powers so that, though he acted in them and by them, it was as true authors that they consigned to writing whatever he wanted written, and no more.”
107 The inspired books teach the truth. “Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures.”
108 Still, the Christian faith is not a “religion of the book”. Christianity is the religion of the “Word” of God, “not a written and mute word, but incarnate and living”. If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, “open (our) minds to understand the Scriptures.”
IN BRIEF
134 “All Sacred Scripture is but one book, and that one book is Christ, because all divine Scripture speaks of Christ, and all divine Scripture is fulfilled in Christ” (Hugh of St. Victor, De arca Noe 2, 8: PL 176, 642).
135 “The Sacred Scriptures contain the Word of God and, because they are inspired, they are truly the Word of God” (DV 24).
136 God is the author of Sacred Scripture because he inspired its human authors; he acts in them and by means of them. He thus gives assurance that their writings teach without error his saving truth (cf DV 11).
137 Interpretation of the inspired Scripture must be attentive above all to what God wants to reveal through the sacred authors for our salvation. What comes from the Spirit is not fully “understood except by the Spirit’s action’ (cf. Origen, Hom. in Ex. 4, 5: PG 12, 320).
138 The Church accepts and venerates as inspired the 46 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New.
139 The four Gospels occupy a central place because Christ Jesus is their centre.
140 The unity of the two Testaments proceeds from the unity of God’s plan and his Revelation. the Old Testament prepares for the New and the New Testament fulfils the Old; the two shed light on each other; both are true Word of God.
141 “The Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures as she venerated the Body of the Lord” (DV 21): both nourish and govern the whole Christian life. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” ( Ps 119:105; cf. Is 50:4).

Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Is that even a valid argument when speaking about Jesus the Christ and the Sacred Scriptures? I think not.  Here is why:  Scripture cannot be compared to bathwater.  You put the baby in, you take the baby out.  They are two completely separate entities.  Christ cannot be separated from the scriptures.  According to the Catholic Catechism All Sacred Scripture is but one book, and that one book IS Christ, because all divine Scripture speaks of Christ, and all divine Scripture is fulfilled in Christ” (Hugh of St. Victor, De arca Noe 2, 8: PL 176, 642).  [Emphasis mine]

What does the phrase “All Sacred Scripture” mean? Also from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

 Chapter One, Article 3 – Sacred Scripture, Section I. Christ – The Unique Word of Sacred Scripture 

104 In Sacred Scripture, the Church constantly finds her nourishment and her strength, for she welcomes it not as a human word, “but as what it really is, the word of God”. [Emphasis mine]

Chapter One, Article 3 – Sacred Scripture, Section IV. The Canon of Scripture

121 The Old Testament is an indispensable part of Sacred Scripture. Its books are divinely inspired and retain a permanent value, for the Old Covenant has never been revoked. [Emphasis mine]

123 Christians venerate the Old Testament as TRUE Word of God. the Church has always vigorously opposed the idea of rejecting the Old Testament under the pretext that the New has rendered it void (Marcionism). [Emphasis mine]

Am I tying the baby to the bathwater?  It is my experience that you can’t tie anything to water. It is fluid. Much how some describe the faith.  This is how I picture the analogy of a fluid faith.  Fill a bucket with gravel, that would be reason.  These are the concrete things we experience and know to be true because we’ve seen it with our own eyes or they are ways of making sense of our perception of reality.  Now fill that bucket with water.  That is God.  He only fills in the parts we don’t already have figured out.  He’s the God of the gaps.  When our perception of reality changes, our God changes with it.  But scripture says that God does not change.  He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

No, I am not tying the baby to the bathwater.  Scripture cannot be compared to bathwater.  It is fallacious to do so.  ALL of scripture is, according to church tradition, a solid foundation of the truth – the truth of Jesus Christ and of God himself.  Inseparable. Bundled tightly together.

I am questioning that solid foundation.  In fact, I doubt much of that foundation.  It is cracked.  In chipping away the loose pieces so that I could get a clean surface to repair, I’m beginning to wonder if the foundation is faulty.  I’m not sure it can be repaired.

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8 thoughts on “Bathwater, Babies and Bundles

  1. My apologies, Sherry. I deleted your comment by accident. I went to the Catechism to clarify some of the things you have said about the Magisterium, the Tradition of the Church, Reason and Scriptures. I wasn't all that surprised with my findings. I never suggested that Jesus or God were limited to a book. The Bible is, however, God's revelation to mankind about who he is and who Jesus is. Would you agree that Reason and any further revelation would need to line up with what is in the scriptures, the Tradition of the Church and the Magisterium? Do you agree that Scripture is divinely inspired? Do you agree that God is the author of the Sacred Scriptures? Do you agree that the Sacred Scripture has authority?

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  2. A couple suggested that equating the bible AS Christ's authority was inappropriate and not logical. (The RCC by the way, does not believe the bible to be inerrant whatever you may think). You desire, it seems to me, to defend your position that the two are equal. Since you have determined that the bible is not inerrant, it seems you have determined that Jesus, whether real or not, has nothing to do with God, if there be such a thing. You have chosen it seems. I'll not trouble you further, since you are not searching in my opinion…You have decided you don't believe and now are determined to defend that position. I wish you well. It is unfortunately the end result of all too many former fundamentalists who cannot separate faith from a book.

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  3. The above comment was posted earlier in the day by Sherry Peyton and then deleted in error by me. I read the comment and went on a bit of a rant, then thought better of it. My intention was to delete my comments only before they were read.

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  4. I had faith in the Bible and when inerrancy went out the window, it didn't take long for The Father, Son and Holy Ghost to take the last train for the coast, the day, the Bible died. Some might say that is unfortunate. Others might blame it on fundamentalism. For me, my Christianity, involved a belief that the Bible was written under the direction of God Himself. I could not separate my faith from God's Holy Scriptures. Some people likely can and get along quite nicely. I couldn't.As I've been reading your latest posts, I do see you still searching and asking questions and really pondering a great deal of material.

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  5. It's kind of a shame about Sherry. Oh well.The way I see it, the Christian faith is like a four-legged stool. The legs: inerrant Text, moral character of God in the Text, perceived Holy interaction (miracles, guidance, etc.), and desire to believe. You can knock out a leg and still have reasonably faith. Knock out two legs, and you can only balance for a little while. Three? You fall over pretty quick.

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  6. Zoe,Yes, I think that is what my issue is as well. I will add that the object of my faith has always been in the God and Jesus that the Bible speaks of, not the Bible itself. However when you become doubtful that the precise thing that tells you about that object is truthful that knocks a big whole in your faith in the object itself.TWF,Bingo! A very good analogy for where I'm at.

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  7. I think that part of the issue here, too, is wording. Fundamentalists tend to use inerrant and infallible interchangeably. When I say that I've given up inerrancy, I don't mean that I've discarded the Bible because Jesus said a mustard seed was the smallest seed and grew into the largest tree in the garden. Those are semantics and I can overlook that. He used hyperbole quite a lot to make a point. My questions come in questioning whether the writers got certain facts about the life of Jesus correct(i.e. the virgin birth, the resurrection). Even when speaking of the old testament if you say that humans were writing their understanding of God it takes away from divine inspiration. And like you, Zoe, I believed that the writers, while having their own personality, were under the direction of God through the Holy Spirit to write what God wanted them to write. He would not direct them to write things that were untrue of his character.

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  8. D'Ma: "[…] And like you, Zoe, I believed that the writers, while having their own personality, were under the direction of God through the Holy Spirit to write what God wanted them to write. He would not direct them to write things that were untrue of his character."Zoe: That is in fact, exactly what I believed. My belief about God's Word was woven into the fabric of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Holy God. I believed that, that omni-God brought to His Word, the Truth.

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