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Biblical Studies | Comparative Methodologies and Theories | Ethics in Religion | History of Religions of Eastern Origins | History of Religions of Western Origin | Other Religion | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


Chapter contribution in Biblical Errancy: An Analysis of Its Philosophical Roots, ed. N. Geisler (Zondervan, 1981), pages 24-49.


The Enlightenment period was characterized by differing strains of intellectual thought, from which emerged the skeptical philosophy of David Hume (1711-1776). He held that many accepted philosophical and theological beliefs were devoid of epistemological proof and therefore could not be known with certainty to be true. His twofold attack against the inerrancy of Scripture consisted initially of denying the particular evidences in the form of miracles by holding to the superiority of man's experience for the laws of nature. Also, he further posited empirical standards of judgment against the Christian belief in the inspiration of Scripture as a whole. By these specific means, in particular, Hume possibly exercised the greatest influence on the rejection of inerrancy by critical philosophers and theologians of various schools of thought from his time to the present.

In spite of the immense influence of his critique, both Hume and those who have generally followed him in these endeavors are refuted on several accounts in their attempts to dismiss either miracles or the inerrancy of Scripture as a whole. In particular, they failed by not ascertaining if there is a God who chose to act in history by temporarily suspending the laws of nature and in written revelation in Scripture. Since both Hume and his followers have failed in their endeavor to dismiss the truthfulness of such beliefs, the possibility of a Christian theistic world view certainly remains.