By Jason Strange
Let us deal with the first prong “dual authorship” as it’s related to the author’s of the NT usage in the old.
Dual authorship is critical in our understanding of the scriptures because this is the way God has worked in and through history to communicate divine truths to mans brain. This is part and parcel to Gods interaction with man. This is man involved in the process as he was always meant to be, image bearing, rightly interpreting God’s word, and resonating Gods glory throughout the world. This is a sacred duty and privilege only for the regenerated man, the new covenant believer whose heart has been reshaped, illuminated, and made new. Dual authorship is impossible where man is still in his sins, but as it is, the believer is part of the new creation, part of a renewed humanity in Jesus and now as Gods man, God can use a justified saint with all his image bearing qualities and put them on display alongside with God assisted governance in penning holy writ. Once again let me reiterate that this is only possible through men made new.
A qualification here must be made: not all Christians have this ability in the formation of scripture, as it pertains to certain offices and calling (apostles and prophets) at precise points in history, yet all believers are called to join in wrestling with scripture and rightly interpreting it.
Jesus’ dual nature as the God-Man becomes the grounds for the dual nature of scripture. It is the hypostatic nature of revelation. Jesus became (in time and space) the perfect representation of divinity and humanity in one. By his very nature he shows not only the possibility but the actuality of something divine and something human coalescing into a one. Word and word both possessing divinity and humanity.
The danger comes when one is overemphasized or underemphasized. When “Big A” dominates “little a” on the inspirational landscape we end up with a robotic approach which is highly mechanical (involuntary, emotionless, perfunctory) man becomes no more than a tool or apparatus for God, and thus bypassing man’s unique and individualistic perspective and personality. God has not done it this way for one because Scripture gives no impression that he has (Luke 1:1-4 and Isaiah 7, Psalms, 2 Peter 1:16-21); and a second reason why he has not gone the route of dictation is because he is not glorified in it. By using man’s abilities in the in the inspirational process he thus receives more glory because he shows forth his multifaceted contours utilizing 40 different men and their contributions as to their backgrounds and stylistic abilities. Geerhardus Voss has stated,
“God chose human instruments both numerous and varied to reveal his multiformity of His nature and character, and that each person chosen was a glass through which the divine light was reflected…”
The reason Voss stated this is due to the progressive nature of revelation where it became imperative that as more light was given the more necessary it was for God to use a wide range of men to display the various prisms of scripture.
God is not the god of the cults whereby he body snatches the individual in a quasi-zombie like state. This is the way in which Satan operates - bypassing man’s God given abilities and throwing them into a state of confusion, conveying dark things; man becoming an automaton, a worldly robot functioning under the commands of its master.
And briefly on the other hand, an overemphasis of little “a” (an underemphasized Big A), turns scripture purely into a human book of inspirational thoughts and suggestions. Men who intentionally commit this fallacy are of debased minds having the dual placards of “Ichabod” and “Anathema” hanging over their mantels of ill-advised and shameful hermeneutics. They are destitute of the fear of the Lord, and therefore devoid of the wisdom necessary to rightly divide the word of truth.
The second prong deals with fuller meaning or “sensus plenoir”. Which means that the OT authors were not fully cognizant of all that was recorded; they did not possess an exhaustive understanding of all the possible meaning, implications and applications of all that they wrote. Jesus thus becomes the interpretive key, and he becomes the source of this original new hermeneutical method which was followed by the NT authors and those that followed. GK Beale has stated, “The redemptive-historic method was the dominant framework used by Jesus, which served as a heuristic guide (helping to learn; guiding in discovery or investigation (a method of teaching) allowing pupils to learn things for themselves.”
The OT contained all the essential ingredients of sacred history, the DNA of progressive revelation, “adumbrations in Israel’s history pointing to the age of the eschaton” (1. To give a sketchy outline of 2. To prefigure indistinctly; foreshadow 3. To disclose partially or guardedly. 4. To overshadow; shadow or obscure.) “So that OT history is revealed as preparatory and incomplete and Christ becomes the final and climatic expression of all that God intended for the OT.”
“We also need to concern ourselves with the ultimate divine intent of what was written in the OT, which could well transcend that of the immediate consciousness of the writer. This is part of the exegetical task, and as such the canon because the ultimate context” (Beale).
But there has come over the Church an “Originaic” fear that the Alexandrians are revitalizing the allegorical method. This fear is legitimate as to past abuses, and so the big bouncers of “double meaning” have been summoned to toss them out from the interpretive building while mislabeling some as “spiritualizers” and “allegorizers”; but if we can show that our exegesis is contextual and normative than we should be able to use it as well; “In addition, just because the method has been abused does not mean that the method is wrong” (Beale). And as Beale has also stated so well, “If we cannot do it like they did it (exegeting scripture like Jesus and the apostles) than there remains a hiatus between the way they did it and they way we do it. How can we feel corporately at one with them in the theological process? That access has been denied.”