Outsmarting ourselves by deconstructing divine art. For the sake of discussion, I have painted Mt. Hood, which for people familiar with where I live, is an attractive snow-capped mountain that dominates the horizon with its majesty. Now some with artistic eyes & a love of beauty will be simply blessed by the art….But there will be others. Some critics w/ micrometers will determine that I made a particular slope slightly off relative to the height. Others will criticize my choice of colors & being exacting critics, it will spoil their appreciation. Others will declare it is not really Mt. Hood, but some similar mountain in China, therefore it has been falsely identified. Others will declare that I didn’t paint it, but copied it from an earlier painting that is now totally lost…in fact, no one has seen the lost picture, but they are sure it exists, because they simply declare that I am incapable of painting Mt. Hood like I did. The year it is said that I painted it, the snow had a different pattern so therefore my painting is a fake. On and on the deconstructionists go, making their critical comments and negative speculations. And that is what is being done with the divine panorama of God’s written Word. People can use mental gymnastics to interpret art and see things that were never intended.
In 1969 I gave my life to Christ, and took big notice that he placed enormous emphasis & gave great credibility to the Scripture as “God’s Word”. Much of what he said was actually quotes from Scripture. He was always trying to teach his disciples how to understand the Bible, for instance LK 24:45. And his disciples really got attached to Scriptures also, because they were constantly telling people how many ancient written prophecies were fulfilled by Yahshua (who is better known by the Greek word for “Messiah” which is “Christ”). For instance, Matthew writes “That it might be fulfilled…” And Paul writing about his resurrection: “He arose again the third day according to Scripture.” 1 COR 15:4.
Where did these Scriptures come from? Let’s review how various scrolls became one book. Over a period of about 1,000 years there were a very small amount of humans who were super-spiritual giants: Job, Moses, Elijah, Daniel, Ruth, Ester and others. Their stories were written down on scrolls. The story of Job is the oldest book (scroll) of the Scriptures, and it deals with the important issue that dozens of skeptics have thrown in my face—how can there be a good God when there is evil in the world. The very first scroll of the Scriptures addresses this fundamental issue—good people suffering. Sometime around 400 B.C., men of God were concerned that the teachings of Moses needed to be preserved and they established an authorized version of the 5 scrolls of the Torah. The Torah (which means teachings) had existed prior to that…for instance, it was rediscovered in King Josiah’s day (621 B.C. –see 2 KGS. 22-23) So the text was preserved by creating an authorized edition & making sure that it was copied faithfully & enough copies made. Twice they came back and added more scrolls to the list of scrolls that were divinely inspired. A group of prophetic scrolls were made official around 200 B.C. & the other scrolls shortly after Christ’s death. This then was the Scriptures that the early Christians had, what is now called the Old Testament. It was not a single book, because people used scrolls back then. It was a collection of scrolls that were approved as divinely inspired & given an established text so that there would be one certain correct edition of the wording. Unfortunately, people say, oh they left out so many books so I don’t want to read Scriptures. Well, yes they narrowed the cannon down, but no one ever felt that these books were God’s last words. Other scrolls have always been used as edifying…they just didn’t get placed into the special list of canonical scrolls. Will you throw my Mt. Hood picture away because there are other paintings of Mt. Hood? Oh, I don’t want to look at your Mt. Hood picture, because there are other pictures. That’s your choice. The divine artist that created the Scriptures has made some incredible amazing delightful truths…but your preconceived idea of how to approach the divine art (of the Scriptures) is going to determine what you see.
One last thought. It is clear that Christ was trilingual, speaking Greek to the Hellenis lady (MK 7:26, MT 8), to the Centurion, and to Pilate. He was a skilled craftsman, and Greek was the common language of the educated. He read Hebrew when he read the scroll of Isaiah in the synagogue. But most of the time he taught in his mother tongue the Palestinian dialect of Aramaic (there were 4 other dialects). Some when he is quoted at MT 26, “Take eat, this is my body”…and at LK 22 “Take, this is my body”, people will nitpick & claim this is a contradiction. NO, this is two translations into Greek of what he said in Aramaic. I present this as an example of how thousands of little things like this are pounced upon by divine art critics to criticize the Bible. Most people who have demeaned the Bible to me have never read it. And they have never read it with the attitude & Spirit that the Word of God says is needed to understand it. For those who have opened their eyes to the divine art, countless numbers have been blessed & healed & had their lives improved for the good. I have personally spoken to numerous persons whose lives were wrecked & had the Bible turn their lives around. The Scriptures are simply the story of God’s redemption and how He has interacted with people. It is not a history book, although it has history. It is not a poetry book, although it has poetry. It tells the story of redemption repeatedly in many ways, and from the history of many prefigurements, types and shadows that God has sent us. Is it an outdated book. Never. Is the foundation of your life firm? If not, learn to appreciate the foundational truths that have been preserved in the Word of God, a divine panorama that took over a 1,000 years to paint and assemble.