Bible Interpretation Part 4: The Justice Objection 1

Rick Mattson Bible Leave a Comment

In my prior three posts I responded to 1) the naturalistic objection to Bible interpretation, 2) the literalistic objection and 3) the pluralistic objection.

This post is about the “justice” objection, which has various forms but perhaps can be summarized as follows:

It would be unjust of God to reveal himself primarily in only one religious tradition such as Christianity and the Bible, and exclude other traditions such as Islam and Hinduism.

By “unjust” we mean unfair, unequal, showing partiality, biased. Any interpretation of the Bible that leads to these injustices cannot be accepted.

Two replies:

Human justice: The notions of justice just mentioned are grounded in human wisdom. But why should God be held to ideas of human justice?

If God wishes to reveal himself in certain ways and not others, that’s his business, his prerogative, his justice.

Source of justice: Where do we get our ideas of justice that we bring to God? If the answer here in America is “cultural preferences for fairness and equality,” we rightly ask, What makes American cultural preferences a reliable source of wisdom?

It wasn’t that long ago that “American cultural preferences” took for granted the inferiority of women and minorities.

* * *

I don’t wish to be a curmudgeon who dismisses the good intent of justice advocates in interpreting the Bible. In fact, I am a justice advocate myself in other ways.

But as a traditional Christian I think it’s important to ground our ideas of justice in the character of God rather than the character and ideas of flawed human beings and their ever-changing culture(s).


Next week: The justice objection of gender and race.


image courtesy of Pixabay

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.