See also the post by Richard Beck comparing the approaches to Scripture of Smith and Enns in relation to the subject of evolution. Beck wisely notes that theodicy is a problem for all Christian theology and not only an approach that embraces evolution. I would argue that it is perhaps even worse if one rejects evolution, since then one has to (as Michael Behe does) attribute the fine craftsmanship of that killing machine we know as the malaria virus directly to the Intelligent Designer – as just one among many of this sort of invention that raises the problem of theodicy even or perhaps particularly if one rejects mainstream evolutionary science.
To put it bluntly, I am no longer of the opinion that Scripture is layered with a special coating of “what God meant” sauce; neither do I believe that the Bible is composed of the flesh of human words attached to a divinely crafted backbone. Nor am I enamored with Peter Enns’ incarnational model of Scripture as I understand it, which is built off of the belief that divine and human authorship overlaps. In short, I have seen no compelling, non-circular reason to maintain the belief that God should in any meaningful sense be considered the author of the Bible. To believe in God’s providential intentions for the Church in the production and canonization of the Bible is one thing; I can affirm as much myself. To credit Him as the publisher might even work. I have sometimes drawn the analogy of God’s purposing of Scripture to that of King James commissioning the translation of the Bible. It occurs to me now that my view of Scripture as the response of humans to divine revelation and inspiration strikes me as fairly well analogous to a Festschrift. But God as author? Hardly. And the contention that He was the kind of author who overlaid the glaringly human text with some esoteric meaning recoverable independently of the meaning it had to the original audiences and available only to subsequent theologians reminds me quite a lot of the infamous “Bible Codes” from a couple years back. It sounds even more like Gnosticism.
Anyone who thinks that taking a supposedly “high view of Scripture” makes matters simpler and serious theological problems vanish must not have given much serious thought to the matter. And that is perhaps the heart of the problem: those who extol Scripture seem to be those who are least willing to wrestle with what it actually says and what the implications of what it says might be. In my opinion, praising the Bible while studying and comprehending it superficially doesn’t deserve to be considered a “high view of Scripture.”