To move our discussion from Open to Dynamic involves a couple of factors. 1) we are moving from something not looked at in Biblical inspiration much – open theism – to something that already has a theory of inspiration – dynamic theory. 2) It really is now the question God’s use of power in conjunction with man’s freewill that we are engaging when we talk about how God inspired the Bible at specific moments. Dynamic theory without the open theism already postulates a theory of inspiration I which God and man are both 100% involved in the inspiration of Scripture. The writer works within the frame-work God sets but has complete freedom to do so. There is a real relationship between the writer and God that is part of the inspiration of scripture.
Honestly it is simply my point that this is basically true for me and Open Dynamic theory but we look a little closer into the specifics of how the Bible is inspired through time with a God facing genuine openness for both himself and his creation. ‘Open’ is about how the passage of time and choices affected the history of the Bible and its contents, ‘Dynamic’ is more about the how inspiration takes place at the pivotal moments when the various books were inspired.
For simplicity sake, let us look at the dynamic theory part by equating it to the fire triangle. To have a fire, you must have fuel, oxygen and heat. To have dynamic inspiration requires a writer and his situation (fuel), the holy spirit (the oxygen) and the relationship between the two (heat). If there is no human writer there is no fire of course but that shows you how important the human dynamic of inspiration must be. Without it there is no need to inspire anything. Without God’s direct involvement there is no oxygen. That is why many books may be great spiritual inspiration but they are not considered divinely inspired to the same degree as the books of the Bible. Much of the idea of heat though is truly dynamic in and of itself. The relationship between the writer and the Holy Spirit must be present for any inspiration to happen at all. Even this though is subject to a matter of degree.
It is this part where I actually barrow one thing from illumination theory in that the nature of inspiration is very much determined by the level of heat or level of relationship between the Holy Spirit, the writer and the people who need to hear what the writer is going to write. That is why we can say some books today have a high level of inspiration but there is no rush to put them in the Bible because the level of inspiration in the Bible is very high comparatively speaking. Many books written today have the simple fact they are borrowing from the heat of the Bible to be written themselves. What we are saying about the Bible in Open Dynamic Theory is that these were the books that were recognized and continue to be recognized to have the highest levels of inspiration of God where the heat level was at its highest so to speak.
The great strength of this is that human beings can be human and not affect that the Bible is still inspired. They are dynamic fuel that leaves their mark as they are burned in the pages of the Bible itself. That is why we have Moses giving a law of divorce even though the only reason it is allowed is human hardness. That is why Paul can ask for people to bring him stuff in his letters. That is why the people who wrote the Bible can refer to the four corners of the earth and be ok. That is the human mark on the Bible based on what they understood at the time. The principle is more important than the exact words to describe the principle that the writer and God are trying to get across in Open Dynamic Theory. The Bible still depends on its history being true but the importance of the history is to show God’s principles being lived in the real world.
The weakness remains that dynamic theory alone presented but it is far easier to deal with because of open theism. The weakness of interpretation being messy simply finds itself as part of the nature of relationship. Relationships are messy so the nature of inspiration in those relationship will also be messy and interpretation of those passages also messy. In many ways this turns a weakness into a strength as it points to relationship being God most powerful will and desire not to put all things on a timeline or everything said with the exact words he wanted. What we look for believing in open dynamic theory is the relationship concepts God wants us to understand in the pages of the Bible. Our interpretation is more guided on listing to and for that dynamic than looking at the Scriptures as hard-line rules.
That said, there becomes a lot of faith issues that must be understood which is the subject of the next post.
Next: What do we mean by ‘Theory’?