I really ought to have learned by now that consulting “Bible scholars” is usually a waste of time.
But I was reading Ezekiel Chapter 1 yesterday, the vision of the “living creatures,” and I wanted to enrich my understanding. Because that’s a very difficult chapter!
Ezekiel was a scholar, a trained man: but that chapter is written by a man who is deeply frightened and terribly confused. The “living creatures” are cherubims, a familiar motif in the art and literature of the Ancient Near East. Ezekiel would have known all about them. But the way the chapter reads, it hasn’t been written by someone who has studied cherubims… but by someone who has seen them.
Enter Bible Scholars Inc. They are quick to spot parallels between Ezekiel’s vision and St. John’s Revelation. Both describe cherubims. Other motifs are repeated throughout.
There are also some differences in details–six wings for the cherubims, for instance, vs. four–which the Bible Scholars account for by saying this was how John crafted them to suit his own purpose.
In other words, he made it all up!
Not only made it up, but also got away with it. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Watch us put one over on the plebs.
Because that’s what they would do, they assume that was what Ezekiel and John did. Like Lord Chutt, they attribute their own low standards of character to everyone. I’m a stinker, so everyone else must be, too. I make things up! Therefore the writers of the Holy Scriptures made up everything!
How contemptible is this?
There are reliable Bible teachers out there. There have to be.
As someone who gets paid for making things up, and has received awards for doing it well, I declare the Bible doesn’t read like fiction. And I do know something about fiction. Gilgamesh is fiction and folklore. Homer write historical novels heavily influenced by oral tradition. It’s great fiction, but it’s still fiction.
I am as sure as I can be that Ezekiel wasn’t inventing anything. And I’ll bet he would have turned cartwheels if God had released him from being a prophet.