This article is just one in a long series addressing questions posed by agnostic blogger Larry Simons in his article entitled, 31 Questions Christians Can’t Answer. For the rest of series click here. Enjoy!
7. Why did Moses write in the third person in the first five books of the Old Testament?
8. How could Moses write about his own death [and beyond] in Deuteronomy 34:10-11?
Why are we concerned about inerrancy when the very existence of God is really what’s on the line? What other purpose can these questions have than to attack the concept of biblical inerrancy. These questions do not attack the character of God, though all others up to now have. Why? Seems like a bit of a rabbit trail….
Yet, as I researched I found that they are not uncommon questions, I will give them their due here. Lets change question number seven slightly to illustrate one answer to the question, Why did Joey write in the third person in one post on his website? You see the stakes are lower in answering this question but the analysis is much the same. Perhaps I chose to write in the third person for any number of reasons if I did it myself. That reason may be unknowable to future readers if I don’t offer an explicit explanation, but the reason would still exist. Perhaps My editor changed it after the fact, in Moses case we’d be talking about a scribe rather than an editor, but the scribe theory neatly answers both questions and is my favorite. The question remains though, if the scribe was hired to write for Moses, as Moses, why write in third person?
It’s not improbable that any scribe that would have undertaken this task would have been an otherwise close confidant of Moses as well (perhaps Joshua himself?) and therefore would have been a believer in everything Moses said had happened including the events he did not himself witness. Moses was told to “write down these words” (Exodus 34:27 NIV) and therefore it would have been understood that these things were meant for future generations. Isn’t it possible that they were written in a way that would have made them more easily read, such as the form of a narrative?