Just for a little review about what I am dong here I have eliminated all the standard theories of biblical inspiration but two of them. This post is on my thoughts and concerns about Dynamic Theory. The next post will be on Illumination Theory. the point is to see if these two theories can hold water in the light of examination. I posted on Dynamic Theory in this post but I feel a recap is necessary for this series of posts.
Dynamic Theory basically states that God inspired the basic concepts and ideas of the Bible but it was up to each of the authors to express them. The authors are left free to express those ideas as they see fit as long as they did not completely remove themselves from the original idea or concept that was God inspired. The strengths of this view are that when you see differences in the accounts because of different vantage points in observation or even differences in opinion over those ideas are allowed. It also allows for the fact that over the centuries there might be scribal errors and that does not undermine the Bible being inspired because the issue is the main thoughts, concepts and history being intact. The copying process is not inspired but left into the hands of man and so the real main issue for dynamic theory is the main ideas, concepts or thoughts not all the details because the details reflect only the personality and creativity of the author and the scribal errors that accumulated and are sometimes corrected over time. The weakness of this view is that it means the Biblical interpretation process is messy in that it becomes difficult to differentiate when an author is being himself and expressing an opinion or when he is truly reflecting the main idea God was trying to get across to us.
As an example, Paul in 1st Corinthians 7 states very plainly that he has no command of the Lord regarding virgins but he does share his opinion about what should be done. A dynamic theorist would say that part is not necessarily the inspired word of God but Paul being Paul. It does not mean that Paul’s advice is bad or wrong, it simply means it is the opinion of the author and not necessarily God Inspired commandment. Similar things could be said about Moses’ divorce laws given Jesus words that this was not God’s highest desire just an acknowledgement of human nature. There are many time God goes along with something but disapproved of it such as when Israel wanted a king near the time of Samuel’s death. God is constantly dealing with our nature and dynamically changing the way things work over time even in the pages of the Bible. Dynamic Theory takes this into account as well and accepts it. The strength of this view is it deals with the Biblical reality probably better than any other of the theories.
This however leads to a lot more questions in some regards. Mostly then the individual reader interpreter is left to figure things out. “Is this passage God, man or a combination of both?” becomes the question as one reads. Another question becomes “How much of this is still authoritative given the dynamic changes as time goes by?” Finally, “what then is the value of the Bible to the believer? If this view has a weakness it means a heck of a lot more work for the interpreter and it also causes the problem of Biblical Authority to be an issue because each individual might be left to decide what parts of the Bible are authoritative to them and which parts are no longer applicable. This also is messy.
Now, just because something is messy does not make it wrong. For me the real question becomes is there a way to change this idea and make it stronger? This really puts me in the position of eating the meat and spitting out the bones of this theory. I like a good chunk of this but I am suspecting that I am going to have to change my understanding of the purpose of the bible to make it work or overcome some of the problems. Before I do that however I should give closer look to Illumination Theory to see if it has some ideas or concepts that will be helpful to me.
Next: A Closer Look at Illumination Theory