3. If God was so inclined to "physically" write
the Ten Commandments in stone tablets "himself", then
why would he decide to write the remainder of the Bible through
the hands of so many men over such a long period? Indeed, if
he was willing to write one part, then why not write it all so
that there would be no question of "his word" being
As it is, it seems there are redundancies and even contradictions
in the human writings (for example, the Gospels, where the same
story of Jesus is retold, but with differences in style, content,
and even descriptions of the same events) which would not be present
if God had simply composed the entire Bible himself.
Your question of why God did not chose to write the entire Bible,
since he apparently physically composed the ten commandments is
an interesting one. It is loosely analogous to the question that
arrises when someone wonders why God would sometimes use angels
to bring a message to someone, and sometimes come directly, or
at other times use human intermediaries. Or why did God choose
to talk to a certain person, rather than another, or why did Jesus
heal these folks and not those -- or for that matter, why did
God pick Abraham and his descendants to work through and not some
other person and his (or her!) descendants. Frankly, there is
no good answer to any of these questions, other than to say simply
that God, being God, will pretty much do whatever he darn well
feels like doing. Sort of like the story of the five hundred
pound gorrilla and his sleeping arrangements.
This is obviously not an entirely satisfactory answer, but I've
found that the Bible rarely offers us answers to "why"
questions of this sort. It may be useful to point out that the
ten commandments are the only portion of scripture for which it
is claimed that God physically wrote them down, so the human instrument
method seems to be normative. Of course, one must point out that
the appearance in the Bible of even the ten commandments is then
the result of the author of Exodus copying them from the tablets
to the scrolls he was using for the rest of God's words.
In regard to the differences of style, content, and descriptions
of events in the Gospels (or in other parallel accounts, say comparing
1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings and 1-2 Chronicles), such variations clearly
indicate that they are the products of several human beings doing
the writing, each with his or her own perspective and methods
of expression. We would assume that this sort of variation was
something that God wanted.
The presence of contradictions, however, may simply be the result
of our limited data and understanding, not necessarily because
they accounts genuinely contradict. The authors were not intending
to give us history or a complete accounting of events, and so
they were very selective in what they presented (notice what the
author of the Gospel of John writes at the end of his work in
One also has to take into account the differences in narrative
structure between the way the ancient Jewish people wrote and
the way we as westerners (following Greek and Roman narrative
techniques) would compose matterials. (For more information on
this aspect of your question, you might like to read the article
in the Quartz Hill Journal of Theology, The Thematic Arrangement of Biblical Texts).
Copyright © Quartz Hill School of Theology.
All Rights Reserved.