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Crouching Moon, Hidden God:

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  • Chris G Criminger
    Hi everyone, I would be interested to hear Brian s opinion on this too :-) To answer your question Dave, here is something I just wrote this week on the topic
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 9, 2002
      Hi everyone,
      I would be interested to hear Brian's opinion on this too :-) To answer
      your question Dave, here is something I just wrote this week on the topic
      :-) - Chris C.

      ********************************

      The Bible comes in so many wonderful hues, shades, and literary forms
      that one form or emphasis can neither capture its depth or beauty. The
      Bible is filled with both literal and figurative language and any attempt
      by people to reduce the Bible to one or another reshapes the biblical
      story into something other than what we find in it. In Genesis, we find
      language used to give a theological interpretation to the reality of life
      (not astronomical). The sun, moon, stars affirm a radical monotheism
      over against other gods. The stars are mentioned like an after thought
      (they do not rule the universe as many thought during that day). Genesis
      already demytholigizes and dedivinizes the creation story so for those
      who try to do this even more from either side misses again what the
      meaning of the creation account is really about----not *how* God made the
      universe but *who* made it.

      What we find in the Bible is a whole host of metaphors, images, and
      statements with both literal and symbolic meaning. To try to juxtapose
      these two against one another or to the detriment of the other is to do
      violence against the texts of scripture (even under the guise of those
      who interpret them all literally or all symbolically to *save* the
      scriptures). God does not need us to save him from anything! The
      attempt to defend biblical statements as scientifically accurate is as
      misguided as the attempt to reject biblical statements as scientifically
      inaccurate. Since literalism and symbolism both reject important
      features of the biblical story, they both miss the multivalent richness
      and even the spiritual beauty and power that is at work in the
      scriptures. Both literalists and symbolists read in various views of
      modern science in their efforts to correlate the Bible with the newest
      scientific data and theories in geology, paleontology, biology, physics,
      chemistry, and astronomy. If Genesis, however, were to be harmonized
      with the prevailing science of any particular generation, it would
      necessarily be *out* of harmony with the prevailing science of every
      other generation. To view the Genesis story as *merely symbolic* often
      empties the biblical story of its substance and realities. To view the
      Genesis story as *merely literal* is to turn attention away from the
      biblical world and its authors to issues mostly modern and secular. It
      exchanges its spiritual and symbolic birthright for a mess of tangible
      pottage. Pure literalism or symbolism are often geared towards
      exchanging the theological truths of scriptures for scientific literalism
      or scientific symbolism. Both of these paths are often reductionistic
      and miss the symmetry and multidimensionality found in the biblical
      texts.

      I am reminded of the ancient Indian story of *the finger pointing to the
      moon.* Literalism often mistakes the pointing finger as the moon and
      symbolism often misses the moon altogether! Job 38:4 says "Where were
      you when I laid the foundation of the earth?" That question is the
      beginning and end of all questions concerning the meaning of creation.
      With that response, Job is taken back to the time before the time of
      Genesis 1:2 where all inquires and doctrines are returned to the abyss of
      darkness and formlessness before creation. They disappear into the
      silence and hiddenness of God, the same silence and hiddenness out of
      which the word was spoken and from which has come light, sky, sun, moon,
      stars, earth, and so forth. Literalists and symbolists too often (but
      not always) miss the moon crouching as it gives way to the glory of its
      maker and designer. It's so easy to get distracted and side tracked with
      the material and symbolic meanings of the universe that we miss what they
      are pointing to------beyond, hidden, enveloped in both darkness and
      mystery; light and revelation.

      In the end, the scriptures says God is both *hidden* and *revealed.* "No
      man has ever seen God" (1 Jn.4:12) while Jesus says, "He who has seen me
      has seen the Father" (Jn.14:9). Faith is *both* knowing and not-knowing.
      To understand at least this much helps prepare the way for more
      understanding despite wherever one finds oneself in regards to these
      issues

      Creationally yours - Chris Criminger
      Vallonia Indiana



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