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"God needs to update the Bible"

At least that’s what a caller to Shaun Doherty’s show said recently. He then went on say that he expected God to apologise for the mistakes that were in it and revise it for today’s needs.

Setting aside the claim that there are mistakes in the Bible – which is often claimed and never substantiated – I’d like to know what needs updated.

Perhaps the caller thinks that God’s word needs to be brought up to date with respect to women. It is often seen as misogynistic. Yet the Bible gives women a far higher status than they have in most of the world today. And in marriage it demands the ultimate level of love from husbands – that they love their wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for it. What woman doesn’t want to be loved in such a self-sacrificial way?

Perhaps the caller thinks that God’s word needs updated with regard to human sexuality. After all, one man and one woman for life is seriously outdated, is it not? But it’s not as if people in Bible times didn’t know about casual sex, homosexuality and adultery, yet God saw his rules as appropriate for such a society. Interestingly the facts and figures show that a one-man one-woman marriage is the best option for stable societies and the bringing up of children.

Perhaps the caller thinks that since we know so much more scientifically now, we should update God’s word. But what science would he have it updated it to? Scientists are constantly changing their theories, and finding that so-called ‘universal truths’ aren’t universal. Also the Bible has yet to be shown to hold one single unscientific statement.

Perhaps the caller thinks that the Bible needs to be updated to take into consideration our information age and all its temptations. Yet what lies at the heart of society’s problems? It’s the heart of people – and our self-centred pleasure-seeking lunging after status, sex, wealth, excitement and success. Exactly the same problems the Bible has been dealing with for millennia. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

God’s word is in need of no update – it’s eternally relevant.

I suspect the caller, like many who make similar statements, is looking for a convenient excuse so that they can disregard God’s word and don’t have to pay attention to God’s demands on them. It’s not that God’s word has been tried and found wanting, instead people have been tried by God’s word and found wanting, and they don’t like it.