Could God Use Imperfect People to Write the Bible?

By Elias Ayala (MDiv & M.A.T.)

Could God Use Imperfect People to Write the BibleOf course God can use imperfect people to write the Bible. Often times this question springs forth from the notion that because people are imperfect, then we should be wary about trusting what they write. However, it does not necessarily follow that because people are imperfect, that we should therefore doubt everything they say and write. It is quite possible for a finite and imperfect person to write something that is inerrant (i.e without error). Of course, when we add a perfect God into the equation it becomes quite obvious that such a God can use imperfect people to write precisely what He wants them to write. In fact, this is precisely what the Bible teaches.

In 2 Timothy 3:16 we are told that “All Scripture (writings) is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” And again, we are told in 2 Peter 1:21 “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” Indeed, if the God of the Bible exists, then it is obvious that such a God can and has in fact used imperfect people to convey His revelation whether it is through spoken word or written scripture. Now if someone wants to suggest that it is impossible for God (if he exists) to accurately convey his message through written words by finite persons, then that is a claim that needs to be defended.

What would an argument in favor of such a notion look like? If one is suggesting that we cannot trust information that comes through finite persons, then can we trust the words of the objector to the Christian position? Think about it. If he is saying that it is in principle, impossible for God to use imperfect people to accurately convey a message to others, then how much more should we distrust a finite and imperfect person’s ability to convey a message to us without the help of God? Such a position is evidently self-stultifying.

To be clear, it is a perfectly coherent concept that if the God of the Bible existed, it would be within the realm of His ability to convey information to His creatures such that they can know it. Such a God is precisely the sort of God which the Bible conveys to us. But interestingly enough, the God of the Bible is not only the sort of God that can accurately convey knowledge to us through revelation whether written or whatever, but He is the God without which knowledge about anything would be impossible. On the biblical conception of God, knowledge is a gift to man. God creates man in his own image (Genesis 1:26) and has provided revelation of Himself both innately and through that which has been made (Romans 1:19-21). God has created us in such a fashion that we can learn about the world around us so as to glorify and thank our maker as we seek to gain dominion over what God has created and do so unto His glory. Not only does it make sense to say that on such a worldview, God can indeed use imperfect people to convey His message, but to deny this very God would reduce such a person’s position to absurdity.

Deny that God is able to reveal himself through scripture or through any other means. We can then ask, “how does one gain knowledge of anything at all without God revealing it?” If God and His revelation is not the foundation for knowledge, then the foundation for knowledge is something else. For the unbeliever, that foundation can only be found in the finite and imperfect person. But how can this be if the argument at the beginning was that imperfect people are not trustworthy?

In the final analysis, from the biblical worldview position, God can and in fact has revealed himself, and has chosen to use broken vessels such as man to write down what He desired to have us know. Likewise, while God is no longer inspiring scripture to be written, God can and does still utilize imperfect people to further His kingdom. We as sinful human beings who have been saved by the grace of God (referring to believers) consider it an honor that the perfect and omnipotent God has saw fit to use us for His glory.

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