Musings on science, the Bible, and fantastic literature (and sometimes basketball and other stuff).
God speaks to us through the Bible and the findings of science, and we should listen to both types of revelation.
The title is from Psalm 84:11.
The Wikipedia is usually a pretty good reference. I mostly use the World English Bible (WEB), because is public domain. I am grateful.
Does the Bible really say that? Excerpt from my book, 2
2 Corinthians 13:12 Greet one another with a holy kiss.
1 Thessalonians 5:26 Greet all the brothers with a holy
Have you ever done that? I haven’t, and you probably haven’t,
either. Why not? Because we live in a different culture. We are not the
Corinthians, or the Thessalonians, and we don’t live in the first century.
Kissing was a common part of greeting for them. Perfunctory kisses on the
cheeks are still part of some cultures. In my culture, casual kissing, as a
form of greeting, isn’t normal.
There is a significant fact about the Bible that the Bible
doesn’t tell us. But it’s still true. That
fact is that the Bible was written for a culture, or cultures, different than
ours. They understood some things differently than we do. But we are still
human, and God’s Word speaks to the twenty-first century. It speaks remarkably
well, in fact. But there are things that readers and listeners took for granted
when the 66 books of the Bible were first transmitted, that we just don’t take
for granted, or, sometimes, even understand. Some of these differences are
taken care of by translation, especially if the translation is not strictly
word for word, but idea for idea. But some differences, like the “holy kiss,” just
aren’t taken care of by translations.
[The book discusses the question of how long Christ was in the tomb in the book, at some length. The Bible says it was three days, but it wasn't, not as we count days -- He died on Friday afternoon, and had risen by early Sunday morning. But, in that culture, any part of a day would have been counted in numbering how many days something took. That's not the way we do it.
It also discusses the miracle of Joshua's long day. (I'm not sure exactly what God did then, but He did something!) Did the sun stand still? If something like this happened today, we would say that the earth's rotation was stopped. But the people of Joshua's time had no idea that the earth rotated around the sun. Their culture hadn't realized that. The Bible was also written as if the earth was not spherical, in that story, and in other places.]
The Bible is not an astronomy or geology textbook. It
describes the heavenly bodies, and the earth, in terms that would have been
familiar to listeners and readers of that day. That doesn’t mean that the Bible
is in error, unless you have an unreasonable standard for correctness.
In summary, to really understand the Bible, we need to do
more than just read it. We should read it, recognizing that the Bible, although
it speaks to us today, was written for cultures that were significantly
different than ours. The Bible still tells us about Christ, and how the sin
problem can be solved, and that applies to all cultures. The fact that the
Bible was written for a different culture than ours, and one that didn’t have
the same view of what the earth is like as we do, should not cause us to doubt
its authenticity or inspiration. Rather, the fact that the Bible still speaks
to us in such important ways is evidence for its Divine inspiration.
The above, except for the explanation in brackets, is an excerpt from my recently published e-book, Does the Bible Really Say That?, which may be obtained free of charge, or purchased from Amazon for $0.99, which is the lowest price Amazon lets an author set. Scripture quotations are from the World English Bible, public domain.