Scripture writers an uncertain guide to truth. We point out therefore that inspiration is not absolutely limited by the moral condition of those who are inspired. Knowledge, in the Christian, may go beyond conduct. Balaam and Caiaphas were not holy men, yet they were inspired ( <042305>Numbers 23:5; <431149>John 11:49-52). The promise of Christ assured at least the essential trustworthiness of his witnesses ( <401007>Matthew 10:7, 19, 20; <431426>John 14:26; 15:26, 27; 16:13; 17:8). This theory that inspiration is a wholly subjective communication of truth leads to the practical rejection of important parts of Scripture, in fact to the rejection of all Scripture that professes to convey truth beyond the power of man to discover or to understand. Notice the progress from Thomas Arnold (Sermons, 2:185) to Matthew Arnold (Literature and Dogma, 134, 137). Notice also Swedenborg?s rejection of nearly one-half the Bible (Ruth, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, and the whole of the New Testament, except the Gospels and the Apocalypse), connected with the claim of divine authority for his new revelation. ?His interlocutors all Swedenborgize? (R. W. Emerson). On Swedenborg, see Hours with the Mystics, 2:230; Moehler, Symbolism, 436-466; New Englander, Jan. 1874:195; Baptist Review, 1883:143-157; Pond, Swedenborgianism; Ireland, The Blot on the Brain, 1-129.
(d) The theory is logically indefensible, as intimating that illumination with regard to truth can be imparted without imparting truth itself whereas God must first furnish objective truth to be perceived before he can illuminate the mind to perceive the meaning of that truth.
The theory is analogous to the views that preservation is a continued creation: knowledge is recognition; regeneration is increase of light. In order to preservation, something must first be created which can be preserved; in order to recognition, something must be known which can be recognized or known again; in order to make increase of light of any use, there must first be the power to see. In like manner, inspiration cannot be mere illumination, because the external necessarily precedes the internal, the objective precedes the subjective, the truth revealed precedes the apprehension of that truth. In the case of all truth that surpasses the normal powers of man to perceive or evolve, there must be special communication from God; revelation must go before inspiration; inspiration alone is not revelation. It matters not whether this communication of truth be from without or from within. As in creation, God can work from within, yet the new result is not explicable as mere reproduction of the past. The eye can see only as it receives and uses the
<- Previous Table of Contents Next ->
Was this article helpful?