"An insolent affront to God..."

He [Luther] endorses every honest effort to reconcile problems to the extent possible: "Therefore answers that are given in support of the trustworthiness of Scripture serve a purpose, even though they may not be altogether reliable." His position is the same in connection with Haran's age, if Abraham was the elder brother and married Haran's daughter, Sarah. Luther allows for the possibility that Haran married a widow, and "that the daughter was brought along with the mother." Thus he seeks to squelch what he calls "the foolhardy geniuses who immediately shout that an obvious error has been committed" by averring that finally "it is the Holy Spirit alone who knows and understands all things." With truly wry touch Luther adds: "I wanted to call attention to these facts, . . . in order that no one might get the impression that we either have no knowledge of such matters or have not read about them." Luther likewise dealt with the problem of reconciling Genesis 12:4 with Acts 7:2, the accounts of Moses and Stephen concerning Abram's age at the time of his departure from Haran. He grants that while "each of the two is a trustworthy witness, . . . they do not agree with each other." His suggested solution is to rely on Moses' historical accuracy and to suggest that Stephen is emphasizing not details as much as the fact that God discloses Himself and His mercy through the promised Seed, Christ.

Undoubtedly, this sort of dutiful and childlike surrender when the problem went over his head, appears naive and evasive to much of modern scholarship, which boldly enters in where Luther - and the angels - feared to tread. But Luther resolutely refused to budge one inch from the Holy awe he felt before the Holy Spirit's handiwork in Scripture. This is all the more remarkable in view of the fact that as translator over a period of years Luther had to take that Scripture literally apart to get its meaning into his native German. To imply that it contained error was to him not only contrary to what the Scripture itself testified concerning its truthfulness and inerrancy. but, above all, an insolent affront to God who gave it.

- Eugene F. A. KIug