I think history is God’s history. And thus as Christians, why would we base our categories for engaging with the text of Scripture (and its historical location/locution) upon naturalistic assumptions about history, as if history does not have a Christological antecedent in God’s elect life for us; as if the ‘telos’ (purpose) of all creation, and all history is not Christ? As if what funds history is not God’s Triune and Providential life, but instead a metaphysical materialism wherein our universe is closed and natural history becomes absolutized and immanentized in way that becomes only accessible by empirical observation and reconstruction? Left to the natural mind (I Cor. 2), indeed, this would be the only access to biblical-history (and history in general) that we would have. But we have not been left to this (we are not orphans), and history is not naked; it is independently contingent upon God’s Triune life and His underlying speech, which is touchstoned in his everlasting Word, Jesus Christ. So the way the Christian engages with history, and the Bible’s location therein, is to access that through Christ; as if Scripture, and the history therein, is hung together, and contingent upon the contingency of the Incarnation of Christ for us. There is no neutral playground to engage the Bible from. And if the critical tools that we have developed over the years (esp. in the 19th century) are based upon naturalism, then in what way should these be viewed as the ‘primary’ means by which we are supposed to critically engage the text of Scripture as Christians?
Real history is composed of human lives; and human life is metaphysics in act. To claim to constitute the science of history without any speculative preoccupation, or even to suppose that the humblest details of history could be, in the strict sense of the word, a simple matter of observation, is to be influenced by prejudices on the pretext of attaining to an impossible neutrality.[Blondel cited by Levering, p. 145]
I am not suggesting that the so called ‘critical tools’ have no value; but to me their value can really only be negative, in the sense that they illustrate their ineptitude to access the illumined reality of Scripture that only comes from the eyes of faith given vision by the Holy Spirit come conjoined with the vicarious humanity of Christ for us.
Sorry, this is just a quick teaser on a post I am planning on writing in the next couple of days :-).