|previous article in this issue||next article in this issue|
Document Details :
Title: De heilsfeiten verdedigd
Subtitle: A Defense of the Facts of Salvation
Author(s): VAN WOUDENBERG, René
Volume: 60 Issue: 3 Date: 1999
It is part and parcel of the traditional understanding of the christian faith that without the obtaining of some facts, especially the facts consisting in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, there would be no salvation. This paper seeks to defend the traditional understanding of these facts against various criticisms. The first section is a discussion of the notion of ‘facts’; it is argued that there are different kinds of facts, historical facts, geographical facts, but also moral and mathematical facts. It is furthermore argued that the facts that indicate and constitute salvation are of the historical variety. The second section criticizes the idea that what the gospels tell us, is ‘true but did not really happen’. The main point is that such an approach, wrongly, implies that the reading of biblical texts as such has salvivic power, and underestimates the problem of sin. Many facts that indicate and/or constitute salvation, are miracles. The third section seeks to show that the arguments against miracles are by no means as powerful as many think they are. The most important evidence for the occurrence of miracles is the biblical records. Many biblical scholars, however, have argued that the bible is an all but reliable source of historical information. The final section addresses the question what weight the lay person should attach to critical biblical scholarship. It is argued that, given the fact that those who are supposed to be ‘experts’ in this field vehemently disagree among themselves as to the results of their scholarship, it should have very little.