Walter Moberly on Human Construction and the Mind of God

Moberly
In a helpful article in the Richard Hays F/S, Walter Moberly concludes his analysis of the construction of the Flood narrative with some comments about how the awareness of the fundamentally human dimensions of the text relate to the ongoing claim that the text mediates the divine will and word.  He makes 3 points that I find especially helpful, and often forgotten in debates about how we interpret the Bible:

'Although sometimes people speak as if the discovery of the
complexities of human processes involved in the formation of the Bible
somehow disqualifies the Bible from being regarded any longer as the
word of God, those who are more theologically literate will rightly
insist that one should conceive the human and the divine as
complementary rather than competitive.' (65)

Moberly then goes on to nuance the scope of these 'human processes':

'there is sometimes a
tendency to suppose that writers singly composing narratives of
historical factuality are acceptable [as human work] in a way that
editors and scribes reworking legends preserved by a community are
not.  Yet surely any significant mode of human communication should in
principle be acceptable as a vehicle for the divine word' (65)

This leads to a model of biblical engagement that:

'should represent a trusting commitment to work in a self-opening way
with the wider moral and theological tradition – both biblical and
postbiblical – of which the story forms a part.  Such a commitment
would be intrinsically indebted to the past and present fruitfulness of
that tradition in its various Christian (and/or Jewish) forms.  Within
this context, searching and critical questions are put to text and
tradition as a corollary of allowing text and tradition, received as
mediators of divine reality, to put searching and critical questions to
us.' (66)

Moberly, Walter, 'On Interpreting the Mind of God: The Theological Significance of the Flood Narrative (Genesis 6-9)', in J. Ross Wagner, C. Kavin Rowe, and A. Katherine Grieb (eds.), The Word Leaps the Gap: Essays on Scripture and Theology in Honor of Richard B. Hays (Grand Rapids / Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2008), 44-66.