If you ask the major Christian denominations in the United States (or most Christians for that matter) “Who wrote the Bible?”, the answer you hear will likely be something similar to this: “The Bible is a collection of written documents that were authored by men under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Ultimately it was God, by way of the Holy Spirit, who wrote the Bible through human authors who brought their own unique backgrounds to the texts.” What they say may vary slightly from that, and from each other, but the gist is pretty much the same: The Holy Spirit (God) inspired the authors to write what they wrote. The main scripture they use to support this is 2 Peter 1:21 which says:
“for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God (NASB).”
In other words, the Bible itself is prophecy, and all prophecy comes from the Holy Spirit. Therefore, all of the theology, doctrines, and commanded actions within the scriptures are in fact commanded by God through the Holy Spirit. This is why you hear people talk about the “inspired” and “infallible” word of God. The only problem with this view is that the Bible actually does a pretty good job of showing that this is neither inspired nor infallible. We’ll just focus on the inspired part for now though, because once we see that it’s obviously not inspired, the infallible thing kind of takes care of itself.
The Holy Spirit is the third “person” in the trinity, and as the third person in this paradoxical monotheism, he shares attributes with the other two persons – the Father and the Son. One such attribute that is shared is that God does not change.
“For I, the LORD, do not change (Malachi 3:6, NASB).”
The reason it’s important that God does not change should be obvious. Who wants to serve a finicky and fickle God who’s always changing his mind, his nature, and his character, right? The only problem with the idea that the God of the Bible does not change, is that it presents a huge problem for the idea that the Holy Spirit authored the texts.
In the book of Matthew, Jesus breaks down how you’ll know the false prophets from the good ones,
“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit (Matthew 7:15-17, NASB).
It is also important to note that fundamentalists will claim that every word in the Bible (in the original languages) is inspired by God through the Holy Spirit. Some people knock this of course, but I think it makes sense. If an all-powerful god wrote a book about the most important concepts for human beings to know about, he would use his super powers to protect that book and keep the whole thing inspired and free from error. If you can’t believe it all, then why believe any of it? The task of sorting out the truth from the fiction would be nearly impossible. Besides, we know the claim that every word in the Bible is inspired is accurate because the Bible tells us so:
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16 NASB).”
Now, it is claimed that all scripture is inspired by God (The Holy Spirit), and that God does not change. This means the Holy Spirit is the same in the New Testament as he was in the Old when he was hovering over the waters in Genesis, and when he was speaking to the Old Testament authors — his prophets. While this view may be accurate from a Biblical perspective, it presents a huge problem for inspiration, and therefore the infallibility of scripture. Why is this you ask? It is all a matter of fruit.
Remember all that stuff Jesus said about good fruit and bad fruit, and good trees and bad trees? This happens to be very important when we are looking at the fruit of the Holy Spirit as listed in Galatians chapter 5. The fruit that the Holy Spirit is supposed to bring out in the lives of God’s servants is as follows: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. This is supposed to be the natural result of the Holy Spirit working in the lives of human beings, and tells us about the supposed character and nature of God the Holy Spirit. Because the fruit of the Holy Spirit is going to be the same in the Old and New Testaments (because God does not change), there is no way possible that huge chunks of the Old Testament, and portions of the New Testament, could possibly have been inspired by the Holy Spirit. The reason for this is that the things commanded and written down as scripture are the absolute opposite of the fruit we are told the Holy Spirit bears out in the lives of those he works in.
What do we see when we look at an Old Testament character like Moses for example? Here we have a prophet who approaches the people and says something to the effect of, “God told me to tell you that you need to kill those people.” Moses (and others) commands this on more than one occasion, so take your pick as to the event you want to plug it into. Where does a prophecy commanding the killing of men, women, children, the elderly, babies, and animals fall into: LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, or SELF-CONTROL? These supposed prophecies from the Holy Spirit directly contradict the fruit we are told the Holy Spirit is supposed to bear in the lives of human beings. How about the command to kill the women who had slept with a man, but to take the virgins back as spoils of war (i.e. rape – Num. 31:16-18)? Where does this fall into: LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, or SELF-CONTROL? It doesn’t. How about slavery? How about how much you can beat your slave? None of it does.
So what does this say for the reliability of the Christian Bible? It has no reliability. It is a collection of written works from various human authors over a long span of time. There is absolutely no evidence to show that the Bible is divinely inspired, and in fact the evidence shows exactly the opposite — that it is a work of earthy, human, fallible origins.