If History Writing Conflicts With Scripture; Who Is at Fault?

I haven’t found scripture to be in conflict with history. There was a philosopher named Ludwig Wittgenstein who developed a concept he called the indeterminacy of translation. I believe that people including theologians often misunderstand scripture. The reader’s ‘translation’ into there brain isn’t an exhaustive source of what scripture refers to.

I will try to illustrate what I mean. Say for example, that one has a report with words referring to historical events in ancient proto-Russia in the day of Yaroslav about 1000 a.d. The report found in Kiev- where Russia started, says that A, B and C were powerful symbols of Viking power.

So a modern theologian reading the report trying to understand how the orthodox church originated in Slavic countries, ‘translates’ the literal text into his brain, reading it. He uses his understanding of what he read in a Sunday sermon.

“I could find no evidence of Orthodox Christianity in ancient Kievan Rus. Instead the people worshiped A,B and C as well as Thor and Wooden. Only later did St. Cyril arrive in Russia to create Cyrillic alphabet with the gospel encoded within his homiletic apologetics. We must not make the same mistake of seeking to dominate Ultima Thule with literary literalism aboard spacecraft bound for the Kyper Belt.”

Well, we know as archival historians that A,B and C referred to Alpha, Bob and Charlie; three vikings that savaged Dniepr River settlements plundering them for booze and women. They were not religious symbols at all. That’s an example of the indeterminacy of translation. The events and the order they occurred in are greatly different than the language that refers to them. It is not possible to recapitulate with accuracy the complete complex of compresent events of a particular space-time locality of the past with scripture about it. It is naive to believe one can.

Scripture is unerringly true; it is human interpretation that is incorrect. Historians also are susceptible to making historical evaluations with incomplete information leading to inaccuracy.

A good example of the indeterminacy of translation today in the theological field involves the controversy of when the Biblical apocalypse occurred. Some such as Rev PhD Kenneth Gentry believe it already happened in the first century A.D. (I agree). Others believe it is yet to happen; those are pre-millennialists. I am fairly sure they are wrong.

He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillennial Eschatology (Third Edition: Revised & Expanded): Kenneth L. Gentry Jr.: 9780977851676: Amazon.com: Books

Another example is in the field of creation and Genesis. There are numerous ways to interpret scripture. That is called hermeneutics. Interpreting ancient scripture at best can determine an accurate use of what the words meant in the day. What the words referred to as symbols and what the actual events were, are to a certain extent, beyond the capacity of language implicitly. Hollywood can make movies about Biblical times yet of course the reality generally wasn’t anything like that.

God, Cosmology and Nothingness – Theory and Theology In a Scientific Era (free download)