Yale Divinity School Professor gets so much wrong about the Bible, that the school’s founders would be ashamed
He wrote an article in response to Marco Rubio’s tweets from Proverbs. The lesson here is short: friends won’t let their friends attend Yale Divinity School. Or else, they’ll end up as blind as this professor…
Marco Rubio has been tweeting Bible verses since May. His quoting from Proverbs has ruffled some feathers. And rightfully so, because Proverbs minces no words. In response, a professor of Hebrew Bible at Yale Divinity School published an article at Politico in an attempt to blunt the force of Solomon’s words. He begins with the striking implications of Proverbs:
Proverbs is notable in that is presents a fairly consistent view of the world: The righteous are rewarded, and the wicked are punished. In the understanding of Proverbs, everyone gets what is coming to them; behavior is directly linked to reward or punishment. This worldview has social consequences: Those who succeed in life must be more righteous than those who struggle.
He’s basically right. That’s the Christian worldview in a nutshell: good things happen to good people, and bad things happen to bad people. I say “generally” because we know that God’s providence is more mysterious than that. Job and his friends discovered that. Good things happen to bad people, and bad things also happen to good people. But, in general, God created the world, he planned history, he established the rules of conduct, and he rewards and punishes in history based on those rules.
It’s so stunning, actually, that it’s difficult for most Christians to even accept in this modern era. But the Harvard professor assures us that things are ok. This isn’t really the way things are. It’s okay to scoff at this simplistic and even harsh worldview.
The Harvard professor continues:
Proverbs is really a collection—or, more accurately, a collection of collections. Some of these sayings have very ancient origins, including one section that is clearly dependent on an Egyptian wisdom treatise from the second millennium B.C. Overall, though, the book was put together rather late—and not, as tradition holds, by King Solomon—and generally deals with questions of how to live a righteous life.
He’s been reading too much Rob Bell.
Yale was founded by Calvinists. They absolutely believed the Bible was the inspired, inerrant Word of God.
The professor, on the other hand, holds to what in academic circles is called “higher criticism.” It assumes the Bible is a hoax, written by men. It assumes there was no God behind its compilation. It is full of errors. But the errors, somehow, elevate it to the realm of very special literature that we should still take seriously.
This viewpoint cannot be proven. Neither can the the viewpoint that God exists. These are foundational beliefs, and there’s no way to prove either one. Everything else that you do or say or believe flows from what you believe about God, and that belief must be taken on faith alone. Faith supplies the evidence that convinces us of the truth of the position. Either God is who He says he is, as he wrote in Scripture. Or He’s not, and the Scriptures can’t be trusted.
It’s as simple as that. We call that a presupposition, meaning a foundational assumption in your worldview that cannot be proven by science and which must be taken on faith.
Since “faith” implies religion, and has been imparted with the idea of “mindlessness” by liberals, skeptics try to argue that their conviction that there’s no God is scientific, not steeped in faith.
As if the two can be separated and pitted against one another.
Science rests upon those unprovable faith-based presuppositions. It doesn’t go the other way, as if science can prove that God doesn’t exist. If the Christian worldview weren’t true, there could be no science in the first place.
PITTING CHRIST AGAINST MOSES
Anyway, there’s no evidence for the theory of higher criticism. It’s just a bedtime story that makes theological liberals feel good by justifying their belief that there is no literal hell. It also makes liberal politicians feel good because the theological liberals justify socialist wealth redistribution policies in the name of Jesus.
They think Jesus repudiated the Old Testament. If he didn’t write the Old Testament, then that’s a possibility. Otherwise, it would be God contradicting himself, which is impossible for God. Our professor, since he doesn’t believe Christ is God, has no problem saying Jesus contradicted God, who spoke through Moses:
As for Trump’s favorite Bible verse, we should remember that Jesus later repudiated it in the New Testament, when he said, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth’: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:38-42).
He has completely misunderstood Jesus’ point. Jesus is neither contradicting nor repudiating. He was talking to Jews who were basically in captivity at the hands of the Romans. There was no justice. Roman officials could slap them around all they wanted. They could steal from the Jews, and there would be no justice. They could murder them, and there would be no justice. But there should be.
Instead, Jesus was acknowledging these circumstances. He was giving advice: it’s better to have the favor of the tyrants than not, because they will leave you alone and pick on someone else. This buys you time. The Jews and early Christians of the day were in no position to enforce the principle of justice. So, they needed to buy time and peace.
Jesus said they should do this by offering a bribe: turn the other cheek and let them hit that one too, if they want. Buy them off.
It’s unethical to take a bribe because it corrupts justice (Ex. 23:8). But the Bible never prohibits offering one. Jesus was telling his followers to bribe the Roman officials so that they could build the church in peace. He was following Solomon’s advice from Proverbs: “A gift in secret subdues anger, And a bribe in the bosom, strong wrath” (Prov. 21:14)
This is wisdom.
VANITY OF VANITIES
Anyway, since this professor thinks the New Testament can contradict the Old, he totally misses the point. He also misses the point of Ecclesiastes, which he says refutes “the harsh, almost social Darwinist worldview of Proverbs.” He thinks the Old Testament can also contradict the Old Testament.
In fact, Ecclesiastes is a challenge for most any scholar. It’s because they miss the point. It’s one man showing the futility of a worldview in rebellion against God, while at the same time showing the correctness of the worldview in total submission to God. He’s chasing worldviews that rival Christianity to their logical end, which is always vanity.
There’s only one which isn’t. You have to read until the end to find the decoder ring: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Ecc. 12:13-14).
All else is vanity.
Getting a “Christian” education at Yale Divinity School is vanity.