Understanding and Using the Bible
Word of God
This leaves us with working out what is meant when Christians describe the Bible as the “Word of God”. I think there are a number of possibilities.
Fundamentalist Christians would say that the Bible is the Word of God in that it contains everything we need to know about faith and morals. They would say that the Bible is infallible and that, if we correctly understand it, the Bible is reliable for us. This works out in a literal view of the 6 day creation account in Genesis for example.
Conservative Christians prefer to think of the process of inspiration where God guided the writers and editors of the Bible so that what God wanted is in the Bible but they wouldn’t say it was infallible. They would seek to recognise different styles of writing, the views of different editors and would recognise a sense of complexity here. So the 6 day creation account may be a way of explaining the fact that God created the universe and the term “day” may mean “aeon”.
Liberal Christians prefer to think of inspiration in a different way. It is an inspiring read, it contains a variety of different literature which has been through a long process of editing and revision. Like Aesop’s fables, the Bible is a book which contains truth but shouldn’t be seen as literally true. Many of the stories in the Bible are myths – they are stories which contain truth. Thus the creation account is simply a myth developed by the ancients to illustrate the truth that God created the universe.
Read on to "Another Perspective".