The Result of Contacting the Bible with the Fallen Mind
Every scripture is inspired of God, and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction, which is in righteousness, (2 Tim. 3:16).
God’s word is precise and is infinitely profound. No work of human literature can compare with it in its profundity. Yet, due to the human element involved, there are some apparent inconsistencies.
And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: (Matt. 17:1).
And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart by themselves . . . (Mark 9:2).
And it came to pass about eight days after these sayings, that he took with him Peter and John and James, and went up into the mountain. … (Luke 9:28)
Apparently there is a glaring error here. However, notice the use of the qualifying word “about” in Luke’s account of the same incident. Matthew and Mark were Jews and would thus count only full days according to the Jewish calendar. But the foretelling by the Lord was in the evening of the day and fulfillment of the same was in the morning of the day. So, measured by the days involved, it was on the eighth day from the foretelling that the fulfillment took place.
God’s word is without error; all genuine inconsistencies that have been used by opponents of the Bible’s being God’s word can inevitably be traced to translation errors, due to faulty human generational transmission of records. But there is a subtler source of misunderstanding the Scriptures.
And also the Glory of Israel will not lie nor repent; for he is not a man, that he should repent. … and Jehovah repented that he had made Saul king over Israel. (1 Sam. 16:29, 36)
Apparently, there is a fallacy in God’s word here. In the first verse, we are told in no uncertain terms that God (the Glory of Israel) will not repent, yet, six verses later we are told that God repented. Our fallen mind will immediately conclude that this is an error in God’s word. But what is actually the case?
And Jehovah repented of the evil which he said he would do to his people. (Exod. 32:14)
Notice that difference between the meaning of repentance in Exodus 32:14 (and in 1 Samuel 15:35) and in 1 Samuel 16:29. The repentance spoken of on the part of the Lord is always a regret concerning some decision on His part. This divine repentance has absolutely no connection with God’s nature, which is perfect. However, what is the type of repentance referred to in 1 Samuel 15:29, that of repentance on the part of man?
Repentance on the part of man is not regret, but a change of mind. True repentance (not lip service) on the part of man is recognition by man, to God, of his fallen state of being and consequent need for God’s salvation. True repentance on the part of man is a matter of the heart and is always related to his fallen nature. This is why God has no need of this type of repentance since there is nothing wrong with His nature. Yet when we encounter something like this in the Bible, our mind, under the instigation of our flesh, is quick to convince us that what we see is an error in God’s word.
It is impossible for man to understand the Bible with his natural mind. Any attempt to do so can only result in confusion for a person attempting it. Indeed, it is this very thing that has created the divisions in Christianity. God’s word cannot be fitted into any theological system. The most sophisticated attempt to do so inevitably leaves contradictions or anomalies as a consequence. The truth of God’s word can only be revealed to us by the Author through our human spirit.