Friday, November 18, 2011

Divine Inspiration and a TV show

You might be wondering what a television show has to do with divine inspiration. And I am not talking about some inspiration that you and I might receive, but I refer to the divine inspiration of the scriptures. The television that I refer to is the new show "Unforgettable". It is about a woman detective who has perfect memory. She remembers absolutely everything in her life. She goes to crime scenes and remembers even the most insignificant details that later turn out to be the key to solving the case.

The show is based on a piece done by Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes. She interviewed five people who are known by scientists to have this ability. They remember every detail of their lives and can recall in vivid detail everything they have experienced. Remarkably, Lesley Stahl had a friend who she said also was like this. They tested her friend and now there are six people known to possess this ability.

Now they admit that this ability is both a blessing and a curse. Not only do they remember all the good things that have happened, but the bad as well. This can be very painful. They are unable to forget terrible things that have happened to them. The rest of us bury these things deep within to protect ourselves. They cannot do this.

While reflecting on this, I thought about what it will be like in the resurrection and we have new, perfect bodies. Will we all have this ability? I think we will. Yet I think it will be much better since "the former things", the bad things in this life, will not be remembered. We will only remember the goodness of God in increasing measure throughout eternity.

Then again, I began to think about something that Jesus said to his disciples. "The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I have said. (John 14:26) So one of the reasons that God sent His Holy Spirit was to allow the disciples to recall exactly what Jesus had said. In the light of what we now know about the possibilities of human memory, we ought to realize that the disciples would remember perfectly what Jesus said. Certainly, the Spirit of God can give a person perfect recall to anyone as well as reveal information previously unknown to that person.

By means of divine inspiration, Jesus' words could be recorded with fullness and exactness. That is what we have in the four gospels. How different this is, though, with modern theories about what we have in the gospels.

The higher criticism, as it is called, claims that we do not always have Jesus' exact words, but we have altered versions of what actually took place. Supposedly, the gospel writers had traditions passed down and edited them according to the theological point they wanted to make. But in order to accept this, one must accept the notion that the gospel writers were neither the disciples of Jesus nor those who had done careful interviews of those same disciples.

The historical evidence passed down from the church fathers and accepted by biblical scholars until modern times is that two of the gospels writers were among the twelve disciples and that two were close followers of the Twelve. Matthew and John were disciples of Jesus, and Mark wrote based upon Peter's teaching. Luke explicitly says that he wrote what eyewitnesses to Jesus' ministry told him. And since we know that Luke is considered by even secular historians as the most accurate of ancient historians, we have no reason to disbelieve him.

Now I want to say that I do believe that the gospel writers had a theological purpose in what they selected to include their respective gospels. John himself said, "There are also many other things that Jesus did; which, indeed, were written one by one, I supposed that not even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written." (John 22:25) So instead on one really long gospel, we have four gospels that tell us all we need to know about Jesus' ministry and teaching.

A further note about who the gospel writers were: If we believe in divine inspiration (at least of some kind), it seems hard to believe that God would not use the Twelve or their immediate followers to write the New Testament. Why would God use someone who used oral traditions and secondary sources? Were the disciples theologically challenged or something? Could only later generations truly interpret Christ?

NO! When we read even the undisputed writings of the apostles, we see that they were quite able to interpret these things. Jesus told them that the Holy Spirit would lead them into ALL the truth. I think He did so. Later generations just followed the apostles the best that they could.

Absolutely, the Holy Spirit can bring to remembrance whatever Jesus has said to us. I believe this promise even in my own life.

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