Canonicity

Why is the canon of scripture the way that it is and can a book ever be added to it? I don’t really care for the ‘standard’ spectrums, which tend to offer things like either “God set the canon” or “people arbitrarily decided.” This leads to the follow up options regarding whether adding is possible which vary between “Add a word and God will strike you down” and “the bible is one book among others that all have something to share.”

I find the distinctions unsatisfying primarily because they take such a static view of writing and faith. The kind of answers I tend to hear assume writing and story are things that exist and we can choose whether or not to think the Bible is the complete and final set of written God stories. Even asking the question in that manner makes God’s current and future presence and action irrelevant. Offering either answer as though it were complete is like doing physics problems about a uniform object on a frictionless plane in a vacuum – no matter how right the theoretical answer, the problem you’re solving doesn’t actually exist.

Wherever I might be labeled on those spectrums about scripture, I don’t believe we have access to the words that give life without the constant presence and action of God that shapes our minds and hearts. I’d rather try to understand the dynamic way scripture and faith have been passed on in order to ask how that process enables us to now experience the presence and action of God. To do that is to study, embody, and then transform the traditions through which the faith has come to us.

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