One of the biggest questions I have (apart from not being quite sure about some of Paul’s anti-female doctrine!) is that on many occasions, in various of his letters, Paul suggests to the people he’s writing to that “the time of Christ’s return draws near”.
Now I don’t know about you, but a time drawing near wouldn’t tend to indicate a couple of thousand years? I’d expect a time that’s drawing near to be a few years – maybe a few decades, but within the expected lifetime of the audience being written to would be the largest stretch one could apply.
And yet, still in church we say each week ‘Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again’. So it would appear he has not returned, some 1950 years since Paul wrote most of his letters.
Now I know that ‘only the father knows the time of the return of the son’ – but the key point I want answered is that the bible is meant to be inspired by God, and Paul was an apostle. Why would he repeatedly write that the time of Christ’s return draws near when by any respectable definition of the term ‘drawing near’, he has not.
I’m beginning to liken it to the various ‘soothsayers’ who claimed that the year 2000 would be the end of the world – where great rivers of fire, and destruction would rain from the sky. Yeah. Ok. And those that predicted the end of the world would come because the planets lined up in a cross at the end of 1999 and there was a solar eclipse throughout a large portion of the northern hemisphere. Ahuh. OK, where is it?
I’m not doubting Jesus’ existence (I think!) but I do wonder about some of the things in the Bible. But then if I wonder about some of the things in the Bible, how can I be sure about the Jesus part of it too?
Our vicar recently gave a sermon which at the time I took to be a very good sermon. Indeed, I still say it was a good sermon, but in it he said “If we can believe that God created the world (and I don’t doubt that) then if he is that powerful that he can do that, it’s not really a stretch to believe that he made the Bible to be an accurate document too?”. At the time that made sense… But then (yesterday) I had the thought that “If Satan was powerful enough to bring sin into the world through Adam and Eve, and to cause Judas to betray Jesus – is it not possible that Satan is also possible to taint the words in the Bible?”
Is it possible that those things which Paul openly states are ‘his words, not Gods’ could in fact have been influenced by Satan, in order to cast doubt on the only book we have which can lead us to God?
Where does this leave me? Well at the moment I’m not at all sure to be honest! It all seems like a bit of a crock really.