THE BIBLE IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Many of us living in the 21st century have an anti-supernatural bias. We quickly dismiss whatever is deemed “non-rational,” supernatural or old-fashioned and archaic—which is the way many of us view the teachings of the Bible. But can we be open-minded enough to consider a different perspective?
We have been raised with a rationalistic mindset, but we have never had the opportunity to assess objectively whether or not rationalism is right. Although raised in the humanistic belief in the goodness of humankind, many of us have serious doubts about this notion. We sense that there is something wrong in our viewpoint, but we are not quite sure what it is or how to solve it.
Maybe it is time for us to put some of our prejudices aside and open our hearts and minds to the possibility that there is a personal God who has spoken to us, and that He has something important for us to understand. Maybe we need to take a step back from the way we were raised and reconsider whether anti-supernaturalism is correct, justifiable and the only way to view life. Let’s take a fresh look at spirituality and faith, which have been the source of considerable beauty, nobility of soul and humanitarianism.
There is a temptation for us to fall into the trap of “modern academic arrogance.” In other words, we believe that the past can and should be evaluated on the basis of what we understand and know today.
When this idea is applied to the Bible, we are quick to dismiss its historical accuracy because we approach the Scriptures with a commitment to Western humanism and rationalism, which is in itself a philosophy that colours our view. When imposed on the Scriptures, it provides a faulty matrix for evaluation.
It is not intellectually honest to dismiss the historicity of biblical events—from the parting of the Red Sea to the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai or the nature of predictive prophecy—simply because we have been influenced to believe, without good reason, that the Bible is myth.
In fact, over the last hundred years, far more about the story of Scripture has been proven true than has been proven false. Many of the details in the Bible—the chronology, geography, marriage customs, and more—have been confirmed rather than disproved by the discoveries of ancient artefacts and writings, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls.
In order to understand Isaiah chapter 53 effectively, it might be good to set aside some of the ways in which we tend to prejudge the Bible and instead allow it to speak for itself.