How about a Biblical example of “perfect.” Let’s look at the first time the word appears as “perfect” in both the KJV and NASB.
(Leviticus 22:21 NAS77) 'And when a man offers a sacrifice of peace offerings to the LORD to fulfill a special vow, or for a freewill offering, of the herd or of the flock, it must be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no defect in it.How would a group of wandering nomads, without CAT scans, MRI machines or microscopes be able to tell if a lamb was perfect and without defect? Obviously they could not if we define the word the way people want to define it when attacking concept of Christians being perfect. Since the demand is made repeatedly and the priests were able to find plenty of perfect lambs for sacrifice, the word obviously must mean something else. It would seem that God’s definition of perfect is a little different from the philosophical impossibility of the sceptics.
The Hebrew word is translated many ways. The most common in the NASB is “without defect.” In the KJV it is “without blemish.” What is a defect for one person could be a value added feature for another. A sunroof is nothing but a nusance to me but might be a tremendous accessory to you. I like my steak well done. The chef considers it burnt and unfit for human consumption. The question is “What does God consider without defect?” Or “How does the Bible define the term?” The question is not, “Do you see it as perfect?”
The Greek word in the New Testament takes a different approach than popular theology. It signifies complete in the sense that you have arrived at a goal. It marks maturity.
So when the Bible says we are to be perfect the Old Testament is implying we don’t have significant defects and the New Testament infers that we have reached a goal. Does that mean that we can never make mistakes? Does that mean that we cannot keep growing? No.
Certain things would be considered natural and normal for a human being. Consider some of the things that Jesus clearly experienced: Hunger, fatigue, anger. Since the Bible says He was tempted in all ways but was without sin, I think the list is a lot longer. What qualities of being human would we throw out in the quest for our definition of perfect? Human limitations are not signs of lack of perfection.
Perhaps we need another better word. All words have their weaknesses. What is expected of us is to engage our brains, read the scriptures, pray and wrestle with the big ideas. It doesn’t mean accepting a canned, easy definition supplied by any theological camp. This is one of the problems of being a follower of the Living God. We are required to engage our minds and think. Answers are often not simple and monochrome.
homo unius libri