|Aleppo Codex of Deuteronomy|
All of this troubles Kugel because modern biblical scholarship has torn the veil away from God's word and revealed that it is actually just a jumble of human words. The Bible was assembled by us, not by God. Where, he wonders, is the inspiration?
It is a fair question. In fact, it seems to echo some of the similar questions that are often raised by the concept of evolution itself. If the universe evolves naturally, then where is God in the process? Isn't God just a human invention to explain things we can't explain in other ways? Modern biblical scholarship does the same thing to the Bible that the other sciences do in their respective fields: subject observable reality to scientific scrutiny and thereby raise important (fascinating) theological questions.
If, however, we begin with the premise that God's creative will envelopes evolution in all of its expressions, Kugel helps us to see that the Bible itself is a piece with evolution. It too has evolved and, in fact, continues to evolve. Our understanding of it continues to evolve. Just as the Spirit is Present with us in evolution so the Spirit is Present with us in scriptures. Now, obviously, there are any number of thorny issues we have to work through regarding the evolutionary nature of the Bible, most esp. why this book and not another? What is the nature of inspiration? How do we discern God's Word (Christ) in the words? The truth is, however, these are not really new questions. As Kugel makes clear, generations of biblical scholars from ancient times have wrestled with them. Science only serves to sharpen the questions. In the end, we can only do what we have always done, which is to live in faith. Meanwhile, it only makes sense that the Bible has evolved. How else would God speak to us as we ride the tides of evolution if not through the very processes that makes us what we are?