In order to trust Jesus’ view of the Old and New Testaments, we must first establish him as an authority on the subject. If it is true that he is who he claimed to be—God in flesh—he is the ultimate authority! There is a second line of evidence proving Jesus is the almighty, eternal God. From these proofs of Jesus’ divinity the third premise in the argument for inerrancy is validated. I’ll discuss both these points in this article.
Jesus Proved He is God
I have already posted a series of five articles here providing evidence that the resurrection of Jesus is a fact. So in this post I’ll just refer to that series as a second line of evidence justifying the premise that Jesus proved to be God in the flesh.
This fact, along with the evidence discussed previously concerning Jesus fulfilling messianic prophecy, is more than enough to establish the truth of the second premise in the argument for inerrancy:
1. The four gospels are historically accurate.
2. The central figure (Jesus) claimed to be and proved to be God in the flesh.
3. As God, He would not lie or mislead; therefore all He said is True.
4. He said the Old Testament is inspired by God and assumed inerrancy.
5. He said the New Testament would be written by God through the apostles and thus would be without error.
Conclusion: Therefore we have good reasons to believe the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments are inerrant.
As God, All Jesus Said is True
We now move on to the third premise of the argument: As God, Jesus would not lie or mislead; therefore all He said is True.
This premise may not even need to be stated, for it is assumed in light of the second premise being true. But to ensure all assumptions in the argument are identified and defended it is worth discussing briefly.
This third premise follows by logically unpacking the implications of the nature of God. By definition, God possesses all “great-making” properties, including omniscience and truthfulness. In other words, God knows all things, and what he chooses to communicate he does so with accuracy.
Note that these implications are true whether God exists or not. In other words, if God exists, he would possess great-making properties (the properties that make a being great). Furthermore, if God exists, he would possess these attributes fully or completely. Therefore this premise does not beg the question in favor of God’s existence or employ the Ontological argument, which not all believe is cogent. It simply posits that if God exists, He would, by definition, be the greatest possible being.
Said the other way around, if a being exists that is greater than God in any way that makes a being great, then that being would (by definition) be God. God is (or would be) the one and only maximally perfect being. Such a being would possess all divine attributes as fully as possible.
As noted above, two important attributes God, as the maximally perfect being, does (or would) possess are knowledge and truthfulness. In other words, God does (or would) know all things, and does (would) have such moral perfection that he could only communicate truthfully (if he chose to communicate at all). In other words, God, by definition, would be incapable of having limited knowledge or misleading others if and when he chose to communicate that knowledge. If such a god had limited knowledge or moral imperfection such that he could mislead, he would not be a maximally perfect being, and thus would not be God.
It therefore follows that if God speaks, what he says is completely accurate. We have seen in the previous posts that Jesus is in fact God. Therefore, it follows that when Jesus speaks, what he says is completely accurate (given the Law of Transitivity).
This is the third premise in the argument for inerrancy: As God, Jesus would not lie or mislead; therefore all He said is True.
This moves us to the fourth premise in the argument: Jesus said the Old Testament is inspired by God and assumed inerrancy. Next week we will look at some of the specific references he makes to the Old Testament, in order to justify this premise.
Until then, grace and peace.
For further reading see William J. Wainwright’s Philosophy of Religion; Chapter 1: Is The Concept of a Maximally Perfect Reality Coherent?