Monday, December 22, 2008

a great insignificant event

Out of the mathematics of general relativity would come ideas and postulates that are themselves also matters now of household conversation; time as another, and fourth, dimension; time as capable of being slowed; the ongoing expansion of the universe; the Big Bang. And in conjunction with the work of other brilliant, popularly known physicists like Edwin Hubble, general relativity would eventually make it possible, on July 20, 1969, for Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to walk on the surface of Earth's moon. In doing so, they walked on what always before had been the footstool of God, and that made all the difference. Literalism based on inerrancy could not survive the blow (though it would die a slow and painful death); and without inerrancy-based literalism, the divine authority of Scripture was decentralized, subject to the caprices of human interpretation, turned into some kind of pick-and-choose bazaar for skillful hagglers. Where now is our authority?
Tickle, The Great Emergence, p. 82

Well, that's certainly a mouthful of a paragraph, and one not slacking in it's claims. Shall we take a look at them?

For example, where is it ever said in Scripture that the moon is God's footstool? I can think of a place where the Earth is call that, but never the moon.

Second, what is the connection between walking on the moon and biblical literalism, such that literalism must now die a slow and painful death because man has walked on the moon? I think I'm pretty familiar with the Bible, and can't say I've ever noticed anyplace in it where the subject of walking on the moon is dealt with pro or con. I don't recall it being a part of any prophecy, or a prophetic sign.

Third, why does man having walked on the moon suddenly mean that Scripture is now "subject to the caprices of human interpretation, turned into some kind of pick-and-choose bazaar for skillful hagglers"? In fact, what is particular new about that situation? Couldn't that be said about almost any time since the early church, that there were those who interpreted the Scriptures through their own desires and biases, and picked-and-chose among the things in the Bible they kept and those they ignored or tossed aside?

In other words, as grand an achievement as walking on the moon was, in a biblical sense it was in effect a non-issue and non-event. "Thou shalt not kill" was as meaningful the second before Armstrong's boot touch the moon's soil as it was the second after. Jesus' words that "no one comes to the Father's expect by Me" were as true on July 19, 1969 as they were on July 21 of that year, because one thing that was not found on the moon was another way to God. We don't know what the angel's thought when man set foot on that far-off satellite, but we know that they rejoice when one small human repents of his or her sins to God.

And, again, in other words, Tickle (and humanity as a whole it would seem) is simply grasping at straws, trying to find any way she can to undermine the authority of the Bible, to in essence say "Has God really said?".

Because, yes, God has really said, and yes, people like her don't particularly care for what God has really said.

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