What does it mean for something to be ‘inerrant’?

2 12 2010

What does it mean for something to be “inerrant”?  Well, the Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘inerrant’ (an adj.) as: “That does not err; free from error; unerring.”  Notice, “free from error”.  And just to be complete, ‘perfect’ (an adj) is defined as “In a state of complete excellence; free from any imperfection or defect of quality; that cannot be improved upon; flawless, faultless.”  Notice, “flawless, faultless” and “free from ANY imperfection”.  This means that even the slightest error is enough to show something claimed to be inerrant to not be so.

This brings a recent example to mind.

Recently I have been in a discussion with an individual who claims that bible is nothing less than the perfect, inerrant word of his god (presumably Yahweh).  I pointed out the passage 1 Kings 7:23 which states: “He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it.”  This passage claims that they made a circle with diameter of 10 and a circumference of 30.  If one recalls, pi=C/d=30/10=3.  This statement is 100% false, even at the time 1 Kings was written.  How do we know this? Well, pi was known to the Babylonians to be at least 3.125 in circa 2000BC (Source: http://www.geom.uiuc.edu/~huberty/math5337/groupe/overview.html).

Thus showing the bible, containing at least one error (oh and there are plenty more) and is therefore not inerrant.

As the say in math.