This issue offers a perspective on the “mysteries of the Bible.”
SINCE YOU ASKED
We’re all familiar with some book or idea that claims to have discovered the secret key to unlocking the mysteries of the Bible. Most seem to have discovered a pattern or encryption technique utilizing patterns in the wording or the numbers in the Bible. Some get very sophisticated, such as the Bible Code “discovered” by Dr. Eliyahu Rips. It utilized what is known as group theory, a field of mathematics that underlies quantum physics. This code claims to show that the Bible predicted, among other things, the assassinations of Yitzhak Rabin, Anwar Sadat, John and Robert Kennedy, as well as the beginning of the Gulf war, the Holocaust, the bombing of Hiroshima, and the first moon landing.
Then there are those that focus on numerology. They attempt to decode the numbers in the Bible to find hidden meanings. I’m not going to try to prove or disprove any of these. What I want to do is to set forth some guidelines to help us as we wade through some of these fascinating theories. The first is that while the words of the Bible are divinely inspired, the chapter and verse divisions are not. They were put there by men to help us navigate our way through God’s Word. Most of the divisions make perfect sense. Some do not. The point is that any system or theory that utilizes the chapter or verse numbers in the Bible should be dismissed immediately. These numbers did not come from God and should be evaluated accordingly.
The second principle is that if these elaborate codes are to work, every word must be in a perfect sequence. Since the Bible was obviously written by someone, that someone must have laid out a perfectly written text. This supports the claim of the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture. If there were any mistakes, the whole system fails. Carrying the logic to the next step, we must ask the question If we admit that the Bible in divinely inspired, inerrant and infallible, why don’t we take it more seriously? Why do we look for hidden messages when we haven’t bothered to consider those things that are plainly spelled out?
AS I SEE IT
Imagine a situation in which an archeologist discovers an ancient musical instrument among some 3000 year-old ruins. With the instrument is a text claiming that the instrument produces the most beautiful sound ever to be heard by man. Scientists and sociologists study it, analyze it, and compare it to other ancient instruments. They claim that it tells them a lot about the people of that time. They go so far as to claim that it tells them what kind of instruments future generations would play. The scientists are so absorbed with the details they think are important that no one even thinks of trying to play it to see what it sounds like. Imagine the loss if its claims were true, but no one was ever blessed by it. The current civilization would have suffered an incalculable loss because those who claimed to be so intelligent had acted so foolishly. Our civilization would be infinitely better off if more people read the Bible to hear what the creator of the universe want us to know instead of picking it apart to try to prove someone’s point of view.
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ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
Actual sign seen in an office:
WOULD THE PERSON WHO TOOK THE STEP LADDER YESTERDAY PLEASE BRING IT BACK OR FURTHER STEPS WILL BE TAKEN