An unscientific Old Testament

Reflections on the Introduction to the O.T (Lecture 1)

One of my past times is engaging with unbelievers online, mostly Atheists of the western stripe. Like most enjoyable past times, it is at times painful, think mountain climbing with no gear.

The usual objections to the God of the Bible is that he seems to not conform literally [1] to an objective scientific knowledge of our objectors. Now it is not that the knowledge we possess in the modern day is wrong in the sense of being factually erring, but that knowledge does not make it the fulcrum of the cosmos or the weight by which all other knowledge must be measured by.  The firefly too thinks that the sun shines out of its bottom, until it is collected in jars by children for the sheer purpose of their amusement.

The modern temptation is to regard anything that baffles or resists final categorisation for us as not being of this world, it is to be trashed and cast out into the nether regions of the earth never to be heard from again. The world of the Old testament to modern ears are alien and seems to be speaking in tongues,  appears to be an incoherent babbling by a primitive culture long gone, and so is irrelevant to the concerns of modern day life. “The ‘I am that I am’ is Tautological God” [2]. Even among Christians, there seems to be an unhealthy favouring of the New Testament which surprisingly is such a small portion of the Christian Canon. The new too relies most of the time heavily on its readers having a working knowledge of the Old and speaks in terms and allusions to those it thinks have been thoroughly steeped in a literary past or at the least requires its readers to be this, in order to fully grasp where it is coming from.

Rites, Rituals, Priests, Sin, Worship is the language of the Old Testament.

Scales, Numbers, Graphs, Maps, White is that of ours.

The Bible speaks in technicolor (to make an allusion to that young boy with a special coat). One useful apologetic against all readings of scripture in a Scientifically Objective paradigm is to know that the people it was originally written to were unscientific, but that does not automatically make them stupid.

Notes

  1. In both sense of the word i.e. exactly and as relating to literature. Maybe not the more modern use of the word to mean figuratively, with this we know God accommodates to us in his revelation and it helpful to not go beyond what is written (1 Cor 4:6).
  2. Quote from Peter Hatton from an Atheist friend. This also links to the first note above in that even though there is much we can know about God, He will always be resistant to finally categorisation, the aim of this revelation is finally worship.
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