Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Immutability of Divine Texts

Divine texts are the common heritage of human beings. They cultivate human spirituality. Too much time is spent finding faults with divine text and too little attention is paid to understanding their unity of purpose. While doubters question the authenticity of divine texts and while factions set one divine text against the other, divine texts are munificent in establishing the truth. The Hebrew Bible warns that among nations gone astray from the path of God, “the prophet is considered a fool, the inspired man a maniac.” The Qur’an affirms: “We have sent thee revelation, as We sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him: We sent revelation to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David We gave the Psalms.” The New Testament declares, “All scripture is God-breathed.” The Buddhist Dhammapada proclaims, “Blessed is the devotion of those who dwell in unity.” The Bhagavad Gita’s call to unity is no less vivid when Krishna proclaims the following words: “As men approach me, so I receive them. All paths, Arjuna, lead to me.” Hindu, Buddhist, Hebrew, Christian, Muslim, and other divine texts originate from the same source, what the Qur’an calls ommu al kitab, the mother book. All divine texts are revealed to guide the peoples of the world. No divine text can be confined to any one nation, language, time, or space. Divine texts constitute one universal series.

Divine texts are universal and timeless. They continue to guide communities and generations across the globe, as they have for centuries. Revealed in diverse cultures, languages, and legal traditions, divine texts share common themes to preserve human spirituality. No concept of prosperity, social advancement, or human rights will weaken the eternal influence of divine texts. Normative deviations from divine texts are transient. Spiritual needs that divine texts fulfill are permanent. The immutability of divine texts does not reside in interpretative gloss or exegetical methodologies. It does not dwell even in the sacred languages in which divine texts are revealed. Nor do divine texts establish exclusive relationship with any one nation, ethnic community, or generation of believers, even if the believers may assert such a relationship. Transcending interpretations and languages, and repudiating claims of sole proprietorship, divine texts tender themselves as the common heritage of all the peoples of the world. Read the article