Bible Texts and possible Worlds.

            “If something is not necessarily true, it is possibly false.” This axiom succinctly delineates the philosophical quandary the modern church finds itself in relation to the possible worlds reflected in bible texts and versions. If the truth of God’s Word as we possess it today is not “necessarily true,” then it is possibly false, and as such, would allow for actualization of the possible world of any future archeological or textual discovery. Though only possible, this possibility alone, would be grounds for questioning or contradicting the truth as we know it, nullifying every notion, methodology and conclusion previously derived from the contemporary disciplines of archeology and textual criticism. The possibility of biblical and theological reconstruction is equivalent to saying that the truth as the Church knows it is not the truth, but only a truth accepted out of ignorance of yet undiscovered possibilities and each finding’s corresponding “truth.” The post-critical Church lives with its provincial, sectarian truth, not because it is correct but because it is the only choice left to the modern Church having rejected pre-critical orthodox principles.

            For example, omitting dia tou aimatos autou, “through his blood” from Colossians 1:14 illustrates the creation of a possible world. Because revelation is Grammatical/Historical, changing the words necessarily changes the event. For this modern omission in Col. 1:14 only part of the question is whether the textual critic or manuscript evidence supports or rejects a text — it is also whether the words where actually written in the first place, the event of writing dia tou aimatos autou. The possible world which admits the truth that Paul did not write these words could, among other considerations, conclude either, that,

  1. Paul (S) did not think this phrase (p).
  2. S meant to write p but because of a physical distraction he involuntarily omitted p.
  3. S was told by an angel not to write p.
  4. S was threatened with bodily harm if p was included so p was omitted.
  5. S fell in love and p was offensive to his fiancé, so he omitted p.
  6. et cetera.

            Each critical text, each modern bible version, represents only one of an infinite number of possible worlds, each edition in conflict with the other by virtue of the inherent variations raised by readings that define the scope of the editor’s and translator’s skills and investigation. Because the text or translation is only a truth and not the truth, then it is one manifestation of an infinite number of possible worlds and capable of exceptional absurdity. Did the Ethiopian eunuch confess Christ before being baptized or not in Acts 8:37? Either he did or he did not, and the editor of the modern version, of his own accord, is going to create a world in which there was no confession. Only God, speaking for Himself through His Word which is the truth will save the Church from believing a historic record, claimed to be divine, that is spurious.

Thus, to retain the exclusivity of the truth I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6) it is imperative that the Scripture exist externally to the Church, the critic, and the publisher; that Scripture imposes itself upon the Church and not become an object that anyone can shape according to their own natural inclinations; and that from outside,the Church may be assured that it is the viva vox dei, the living voice of God alone, revealing the truth which they hear in the pages of Holy Scripture.

Published by Dr. Peter Van Kleeck, Sr.

Dr. Peter William Van Kleeck, Sr. : B.A., Grand Rapids Baptist College, 1986; M.A.R., Westminster Theological Seminary, 1990; Th.M., Calvin Theological Seminary, 1998; D. Min, Bob Jones University, 2013. Dr. Van Kleeck was formerly the Director of the Institute for Biblical Textual Studies, Grand Rapids, MI, (1990-1994) lecturing, researching and writing in the defense of the Masoretic Hebrew text, Greek Received Text and King James Bible. His published works include, "Fundamentalism’s Folly?: A Bible Version Debate Case Study" (Grand Rapids: Institute for Biblical Textual Studies, 1998); “We have seen the future and we are not in it,” Trinity Review, (Mar. 99); “Andrew Willet (1562-1621: Reformed Interpretation of Scripture,” The Banner of Truth, (Mar. 99); "A Primer for the Public Preaching of the Song of Songs" (Outskirts Press, 2015). Dr. Van Kleeck is the pastor of the Providence Baptist Church in Manassas, VA where he has ministered for the past twenty-one years. He is married to his wife of 43 years, Annette, and has three married sons, one daughter and eighteen grandchildren.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: