Getting Down to Fundamentals
by Andrew Hanson
By Andy Hanson, January 29, 2014
SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS BELIEVE
Fundamental Belief Number One
The Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, are the written Word of God, given by divine inspiration through holy men of God who spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. In this Word, God has committed to man the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are the infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the authoritative revealer of doctrines, the trustworthy record of God's acts in history. (bold mine)
The words “divine,” “infallible,” and “trustworthy”  connote a wealth of ideas and/or feelings in addition to their literal or primary meanings. In this context they proclaim irrefutable intellectual and emotional certainty. That is, who is prepared to argue that God is not divine, infallible, or trustworthy?
However, according to Seventh-day Adventists Believe, the words of the Bible are “embodied in human language with all its limitations and imperfections” and reflect “the education and culture of the [Biblical] writers.”
This equivocating language, while undercutting the claim of infallibility, is helpful when Adventists are confronted with something we don’t believe exists.
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment. (2 Peter 2:4)
If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. (Mark 9:43, bold mine)
This same equivocating language is also helpful when considering divine commands and the trustworthiness of Biblical history.
From Numbers 31
They fought against Midian, as the Lord commanded Moses, and killed every man…. They took all the plunder and spoils, including the people and animals, and brought the captives, spoils and plunder to Moses and Eleazar the priest and the Israelite assembly at their camp on the plains of Moab, by the Jordan across from Jericho…
Moses, Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp…“Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the Lord in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the Lord’s people. Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man…”
The plunder remaining from the spoils that the soldiers took was 675,000 sheep, 72,000 cattle, 61,000 donkeys and 32,000 women who had never slept with a man.
Now to a suggested rewording of that vitally important first Fundamental Belief:
In the Bible, God has committed to man the knowledge necessary for salvation. Salvation (Latin salvatio; Greek sōtēria; Hebrew yeshu'ah) is being saved or protected from harm or being saved or delivered from some dire situation. In religion, salvation is stated as the saving of the soul from sin and its consequences.
devine:relating to or coming from God or a god
infallible: incapable of making mistakes or being wrong—unerring, unfailing, faultless, flawless, impeccable, perfect, dependable, trustworthy, reliable, sure, certain, safe, foolproof
Synonyms: precise, accurate, meticulous, scrupulous, never failing, always effective, faultless, impeccable, perfect, precise, accurate, meticulous, scrupulous, precise, accurate, meticulous, scrupulous
"The very nature of inspiration renders the Bible infallible, which means that it cannot deceive us. It is inerrant in that it is not false, mistaken, or defective" (Lindsell, Harold, The Battle for the Bible, Zondervan, 1978, p.31).
Some literalist or conservative Christians teach that the Bible lacks error in every way in all matters: chronology, history, biology, sociology, psychology, politics, physics, math, art, and so on (Geisler & Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible, Moody Press, 1986).
trustworthy: able to be relied on as honest or truthful, reliable, dependable, honest, honorable, upright, principled, true, truthful, ethical, virtuous, incorruptible, unimpeachable, responsible, sensible
Synonyms: loyal, faithful, staunch, steadfast, trusty, safe, sound, reputable, accurate, authentic, authoritative, believable, convincing, credible, ethical, honest, honorable, principled, realistic, sensible, truthful
Page 8, Seventh-day Adventist Believe, A Biblical Exposition of 27 Fundamental Doctrines, Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1988.