Monday, February 26, 2007

From Fallible Intermediaries to Infallible Truth

There seems to be a thread on Pontifications, Parasitic Catholicism, which never ends. Partly due to the fact I find the discussion fascinating and challenging at the same time.

Time and again, It was stated in various posts that the Church must be infallible, because if an interpretation in infallible, there must be an infallible interpretor.

Nathan, a Lutheran, brought up an idea that I think is worth pursuing though. The point is, if an infallible interpreter is required for an infallible interpretation, how was God's promise of a Savior transmitted from his promise made to to Eve (Genesis 3:13), or the other promises of a Messiah up to Jesus' day? Where is the infallible interpreter? It cannot be those who sit in Moses' seat, because they condemned Jesus, in other words, they rejected truth in the flesh--hardly something an infallible institution would do. So, if the promise was fallibly passed down, how can we have any confidence in it if an infallible interpreter is required to interpret infallible truth? How can we trust the Gospel,?

Now, it is true that the Prophets were infallible, but Prophets had to be tested, and there were false prophets as well as true prophets. This means the Israelites had to "test the spirits" like we do. Not only that, we read that in King Josiah's time, the people apparently had forgotten he covanent and had to rededicate themselves to the covanent God made through Moses (2 Chronicles 34). So it seems to be unremarkable that there were times when there were no infallible interpreters of the traditions handed down. Yet, somehow the promise was handed down, because the Israelites were able to recognize the Law of Moses when it was rediscovered; and in Jesus' day there were those who recognized him as the promised Messiah. There were also those who recognized the proclamation of his Apostles, for instance the Bereans. The Bereans even tested St. Paul's proclamation of the Gospel against the Scriptures; a thing which would be impossible if an infallible interpreter is required to transmit infallible truth, because there was no infallible interpreter in OT days, and the Bereans were not infallible.

So, where does this lead us? It leads us away from the idea that we need an infallible interpreter to believe in the infallible truth of Jesus Christ, because an infallible interpreter is not necessary, nor does one exist here on earth. What is infallible though are God's promises to us, his creatures, throughout history. That promise, first made to Eve, that God would, through her descendant, crush the serpent, and redeem mankind from bondage to sin, death and the devil. In OT days, the promise was infallible even though the ones preserving it were obviously fallible. Today the promise is infallible even though some groups obscure the Gospel by pointing to the body instead of the head, and claim that outside their authority there is no true faith, only subjective opinion. (The body is necessary, i.e. we come to faith through the Church, but we have faith in the Church because we have faith in Christ, not the other way around). It is the promise, the invitation by the Lord to repent and return to him, so he might heal us and renew us, which is infallibly revealed in the Scriptures. Jesus is the very embodiment of this promise, so it is right and good to say that the Scriptures testify of him, and do so infallibly--even if the ones passing the message down are fallible.

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