A Question on Inerrancy

I’ve had some personal struggles recently.  I’ve got some questions about the inerrancy of Scripture that I can’t seem to answer or find answers to.  According to the Deuteronomical law (Deuteronomy 22:28-29), if a woman is raped and no one hears her scream, the man is forced to take her as his wife and can’t divorce her.  This seems unjust toward the woman.  I understand a few verses before where the implication is that the sex was consensual.  But this is obviously not consensual.  How is the woman being forced into a marriage that she doesn’t even desire consistent with the character of God as He has revealed Himself in the rest of the Scriptures?

And then comes along Jesus.  Some Pharisees come along and ask Him about divorce.  Here is the dialogue:

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” (Matthew 19:3-9 ESV)

Now, the stuff about Moses is law.  So, in essence, Jesus was saying that the law on this matter was wrong because it goes against the will and character of God.

If the law can have a mistake in one place, are there other things in the law that may be against God’s character?  If so, how does this tie in with inerrancy?

Let me assure you, I am not denying that the Scriptures are divinely inspired.  I’m not even denying their infallibility.  I just want to know how this all ties together.

Any thoughts or articles you might be able to direct me to dealing with the specific issue that I mention here would be great.

There’s not much else to say really…

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One thought on “A Question on Inerrancy

  1. torahguy says:

    Hey, maybe I can help you out on this one. First, as to Deut 22:28, there is some debate over what the NIV smooths out as “raped.” The Hebrew is literally “seizes” (as in the NASB). This could be understood two different ways. The more popular understanding is the NIV translation “raped.” But as you pointed out, this seems bothersome. Another possibility is that the man “seizes” the virgin (who is not engaged) by “seducing” her. He seizes her heart, so to speak.

    That may be stretching the Hebrew a bit. Even if “raped” is the proper translation, think of it this way. The mindset of a rapist is not one of love or responsibility. Rapists are violent pleasure seekers who seek to dominate. However, if this were the law of the land, it may cause a potential rapist to stop and consider the consequences of his actions. He would have to support this woman the rest of his life and pay a significant price to the girl’s father. The punishment is intened to prevent such an offense from happening. But if it does, the woman, who had no rights in the ancient world, was ensured the financial support of her husband.

    As to Yeshua’s discourse on divorce, the passage the Pharisees were refering to was Deut 24:1-4 and the various opinions concerning how to interpret such a verse. Notice very closely, Deut 24 is not laws of divorce. Rather, it contains laws concerning remarriage if a divorce has occured (hence the phrasing “Moses allowed you”).

    Differing schools of the Pharisees allowed divorce for different reasons, some more strict and some more liberal. It was this that they asked Yeshua about. He sided with the stricter House of Shammai in this case.

    So no, the law is not wrong. The law isn’t about divorse directly. But just like polygamy, slavery, eating meat, and war, God allows certain things to occur in our world that he never intended originally.

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