How do I know the Bible is not tainted by Satan in order to deceive us?
This was an interesting twist in the “Inerrancy” debate. Instead of coming at it with science, reason or textual criticism, he came from within. This is a very clever “straw man” that seeks to validate some of our spiritual assumptions only to use them to raze the foundation of the assumption.
Actually, it was an honest question, by an honest seeker, trying to make sense of the distance between his view of rational thought and his belief.
Here is my reply:
I don’t know that I will have a satisfactory answer for you. Obviously, you can Google, “How do I know the Bible is true?” and you will find tons of material. Nowadays, you can find just as much dismissing the claim of inerrancy. The Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy has been a hot topic from the 17th century forward as the Enlightenment took hold and Modernism became the dominant philosophical expression.
Prior to that time, the question was whether or not it was an inspired writing. The test was simply, “Is it recognized by the Church?” It was not until the modernists arrived on the scene that anyone ever began to ask the question, “Is it accurate?”
“Is it accurate?”, is really a pretty stupid question when it comes to transcendent revelation. “Accuracy” assumes we have the capacity to “know” things. The problem creeps in as we lose our humility and forget the finite nature of our understanding. We then start picking apart scripture because of “inaccuracies”, many of which are nothing more than metaphors based on an incomplete knowledge of nature, astronomy or geology. As we became “scientific” we lost our heart and became unable to “see” music, “taste” colors, “feel” the smell of bread or “hear” the flavor of an orange. The material world became the unit of measure for the transcendent world. We asked the structural engineer to judge the artistic component of a figure skating competition and told the artist that she could only describe her art with algebraic formula. This materialistic view of the world not only impacts “faith”, but a whole realm of artistic expression.
Of course you can find the classic Josh McDowell and Dawson McAllister stuff in defense of scriptural inerrancy. There is a lot of material out there about textural criticism, internal and external evidence, historical texts, archeological evidence, etc. If you really want to “know”, I would suggest that you look to the full range of discussion. I often read books from opposing views together. In this case, there are actually three sides to the debate. There is obviously the authority of scripture dispute between those of us who “believe” the Bible and those who think it is no different than “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.” But there is also the “inerrancy” debate within the family – essentially, it comes down to, “You have to believe the Bible is authoritative for the same reason that I do.”
Okay, now to my answer.
The issues of evidence are no longer relevant to me personally. I know the Bible is God’s Word simply because I hear my Father’s voice. I really do believe that “spiritual things are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor 2) and that His Spirit testifies with my spirit that I am His child (Romans 8). I know that I am a sheep of His pasture (Psalm 100) and as such, I know His voice (John 10:1-14).
Before you judge the rationality of the claim, you must judge the rationality of the life.