- God is all powerful
- The Bible is inspired
- There are copy mistakes that occur
If so, Why?
Some assumptions for my question first.
First, God knows all things, even future events. There is nothing God doesn't know. Or, at the very least, God knows enough of future events that prophecies were provided to man.
Second, God created all things--everything that is He created; there is nothing that is that wasn't created by God.
Third, God is intelligent, far, far beyond human comprehension. He was intelligent enough to create all things, which by definition includes some pretty amazing concepts that are real (either tangible, such as DNA, or intangible, such as mathematical principles).
Fourth, it is written that the Bible was, at a minimum, inspired by God. Some hold to the further idea that every word--every jot and tittle--was intended by God. Most consider the Old and New Testaments to be a sort of Love Letter to humanity. So let's assume that God was instrumental in getting it written down in one way or another.
And now a few observations before the question is presented. Some of you may figure out where this is going. Terrific! What's the answer?
First observation: scholars say that there are no original texts of the Bible. That makes sense, since the originals were copied by hand, then copied by hand, repeatedly, because there were no printing presses or computers, of course.
Second observation: when copiests were copying the original texts, small mistakes were likely made, say the scholars. That's not hard to imagine. A missed jot or tittle, though, could change the literal meaning in some places, just as a misplaced comma can seriously change the meaning of a sentence today.
Third observation: virtually every Bible used in the modern world is a translation, but was first an interpretation of the original (but copied) Hebrew or Greek, because some of the language does not translate well. So the translators must first interpret the original meaning of scripture in order to translate it.
Fourth observation: (Hang on, almost there!) Even within English, there are numerous translations. Many translations don't agree with one another, or are filled with footnotes to give the reader hints about the original translation. Example, John 3 talks about being "born again," but the footnotes in many translations say the original wording is closer to being "born from above," which for some readers completely changes the meaning. Why didn't the translator use the latter translation, I wonder. Was it a matter of the translator's own interpretation? But that's not my question.
Thank you for staying with me this long, I know it's a tedious set up for the question, but here it is:
In light of the above, why would an omniscient, omnipotent God choose such a method of communication with his creation, knowing from the start that said communication would be subject to copy errors, interpretation and translation errors including men who would intentionally mislead readers, knowing that for many hundreds of years that most people would not have access to copies to read, that said originals (divine or not) would not survive the years, that opportunities for natural and man-made corruption would exist from the beginning? Why would he choose a method that is subject to translation and interpretation that is likely to be favorable to the translator's interpretation and not necessarily true to the original? Why would God choose to communicate in a manner that would not stay true to what he wanted to communicate? Can it be a true love letter in such a condition? How can anyone know what the true intent was?
Would you, as a man or woman, write a letter to your most beloved, using a similar process, knowing it would be subject to the same corruption before it reached your intended recipient? I know wouldn't! But I'm smart enough to write my own letter and send it in such a way that it won't be subject to corruption. Surely God was smart enough! Wasn't he?
So why would he choose this method? Or did God communicate to us (or IS God communicating to us) in an incorruptible manner that we're missing or ignoring?
And that's my question.
Whew! Thank you so much for sticking with me this far!