Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sacred Writings and the Uniqueness of the Bible

David J. Hesselgrave (missionary anthropologist) believes that the sacred books of the major world religions can be categorized into 4 groups. He writes:

1. Mythological writings. These are sacred books that provide narratives and information (generally fiction and often fantasy) that bind peoples together in common loyalties and destinies as, for example, the Japanese Kojiki, Nihongi, and Engishiki.
2. Writings or reports and teachings of the “enlightened.” Common to this class of sacred books is the notion that actual knowledge of the divine and reality comes only through personal enlightenment experience(s). Knowledge of the Divine cannot be conveyed through verbal propositions per se, but personal experiences and understandings can be reported in ways that will facilitate enlightenment and knowledge. Examples would be the Hindu Vedas, the Buddhist Tripitaka, and the Chinese Tao-Teh-Ching.
3. Divine writing. This kind of writing purportedly comes directly from the Divine apart from any sort of human involvement other than, perhaps, the mechanical writing process. The primary example would be the Koran, though the Book of Mormon also fits this category.
4. Divinely inspired writings. The Old and New Testaments are held by orthodox Christians to be different from all other books. As noted above, they are “God-breathed” by the true and living God in such a way that, though the personality, background, ideas and research of human authors are involved, all are directed by God the Holy Spirit in such a way as to make the final product the very Word of God.
The importance of these distinctions cannot be over-emphasized. Practically as well as logically, the type or kind of revelation contained in sacred books is every bit as important as their teachings per se and is determinative of the way in which they are understood and applied; and how they are translated and contextualized. When the absolute uniqueness of God’s revelation in the Old and New Testaments is not recognized, the Bible takes on the characteristics of indigenous holy books, its God remains hidden, and its message becomes relative.

Read more here.

One aspect of the Bible's uniqueness that Hesselgrave fails to note is the consistency of the genealogical patterns that make it possible to demonstrate that the Edenic Promise of Genesis 3:15 is the premise of the entire biblical narrative.  Abraham's ancestors actually believed that promise and their ruler-priest lines exclusively intermarried because they believed that the "Seed" of the Woman would be born of  their lines. This is lacking in all the other sacred books of the world.  Even Mohammed, who apparently wanted to know the relationship between the Arabian tribes and Abraham's 8-9 sons, was unable to pass along any genealogical information such as the Bible provides.  Why this concern with tracking ancestry and descent along the ruler-prists lines?  Because these are the people who received the Promise of Genesis 3:15 and they are the ones from whom the Fulfillment was born.

1 comment:

  1. Would it be a correct conclusion that the priestly line existed solely to produce the Christ,and that when the Christ had come, there was no longer a need for the priestly line? Is the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple because their purpose in the economy of salvation is complete?


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