Sunday, May 16, 2010

Who wrote these Books?

During the course of my travels as a truck driver, I meet all kinds of individuals. One such individual is Tom B., who has a very different view of the Bible than I do. As best as I could understand his position, I responded to his misinterpretation of who wrote the Pentateuch - (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) - which consists of the first five books of the Bible.
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Tom claims that the five books were written by three different persons and one editor who put them together. I believe along with most Bible scholars, theologians, and historians that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible.

Tom seems to indicate that the five books, “Show development of religion.” This implies that what is written is not of God with divine authority, but man’s supposition and with no more authority than anyone else’s writing. With Moses as the author, divine authority is established and not any development of religion, but a revelation of God, from God, about Himself. Furthermore, at the end of the book of Deuteronomy we read, “And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses whom the Lord knew face to face” (Deut. 34:10).

By claiming that anyone else other than Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible is to deny its divine authority. Jesus said, “If you do not believe Moses’ writing, how will you believe what I say?” (John 5:46, 47). You and your teacher are not only not believing Moses’ writing, but also not believing his authorship. How then will you believe what Jesus has said or that He even said what He did say?

In a written response to Tom, I asked him if he ever repented of his sin and invited Jesus into your heart. I recommended that he do so. The simple sample prayer that I suggested to him to pray is, “Lord Jesus Christ, forgive me of my sin and come into my heart”. Scripture says that whoever shall call on the name of the Lord he shall be saved, Romans 10:13; Joel 2:32.

Getting saved would help in understanding scripture. It also keeps one out of perdition, the Lake of Fire, eternal damnation, and separation from God.

1 comment:

Matt said...

I agree with you that the Pentateuch (Torah) is not a progression of religious thought unguided by an all-knowing Creator. I know that many unbelieving scholars say that portions of the Torah where God is called YHWH were written by the “J-writer” and portions where God is called Adonai were written by the “A-writer” and some other portions were written by someone other author which has some other designation which I can’t remember. I agree with you that this theory dangerous and is hogwash.

But many well-respected Christian scholars believe that Moses did not entirely write everything in the Torah. They believe some of it was written beforehand, some by Moses, and some afterward.

For example, Halley’s Handbook (c 1962) states that the “Creation Hymn” (Genesis 1:1-2:3) was “written, no doubt, long before, perchance by Abraham, Noah, or Enoch, or Adam.” Furthermore, in ten places in Genesis it says, “This is the account of…” strongly implying a previous writer. Moses does not usually refer to himself in the first person in Exodus-Deuteronomy.

The final portion of Deuteronomy records Moses’ death. It is possible that Moses wrote this portion prophetically, but it isn’t worded in a way that conveys that idea. (The post-death statements are written in past tense just like everything else.) Even the verse you quoted (Deuteronomy 34:10) strongly implies that that portion was written some time after Moses died. (Note especially the word “since”.) This issue is complicated by the fact the Moses appears at the Transfiguration and that there was a dispute about the body of Moses mentioned in the book of Jude. These things notwithstanding, the book of Deuteronomy unequivocally states that Moses actually died and there is no conclusive proof of any posthumous writing or that Moses was resurrected from the dead.

There is no place in the Torah itself which says that Moses is the author, although some later Scriptures have been taken as proof of this. The best example is:

And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?

Mark 12:26 (KJV)

I am not sure that this is actually meant to be taken that Moses is the sole author of the entire Torah. But certainly Moses wrote portions of the Torah (Luke 20:28, etc.). Many verses say that Moses gave the law, but this could be referring to those portions which contain the commandments which Israel (see Hebrews 9:19) was to live by and could include portions which had been previously written. (Note that while John 7:22 says “Moses gave you circumcision…” the commandment to do so was given to Abraham long before Moses was born.)

This issue is a perplexing question upon which many Christians may disagree. But I do not believe that it is an issue upon which someone’s salvation depends. The main issue is that one believes that words of Scripture are true. The human author is of relatively little importance in comparison with knowing who the ultimate Author is.