newprotest.org: FROM ONE AGE TO THE NEXT

FROM ONE AGE TO THE NEXT

June 14, 2006
by: jovial_cynic
I got into a little debate with a friend of mine about the age of the universe. He approached the argument from a literal interpretation of scritpure, and I came at it from a more figurative perspective. In the end, neither of us can ever truly know the age of the universe, but it seems like it would be pretty easy to determine which line of reasoning was faulty, and all we're really discussing is our line of reasoning that brought us to our conclusions. But I suppose a part of our conclusions are tied into our underlying values, and you can't really argue against a person's values.

I won't go into the actual debate, because there's a lot of uninteresting technical jargon involved. Instead, I'll share an interesting revelation I had recently about the nature of scripture, and about the way we interpret it.

When the New Testament writers wrote their letters and books, they didn't write them assuming that their writings were going to be turned into "the bible" that we have today. They had the Old Testament, plus some other books that didn't end up making it into today's collection (like the book of Enoch, and some other apocrophal books). Armed with nothing but those Old Testament books, they extracted figurative interpretations, not literal ones. The temple -- a symbol of the human heart. Circumcision -- a symbol of being separated by God. Sacrificial lambs -- a reference of the Messiah to come. Paul states that much of the Old Testament is a shadow of spiritual truths, which seems to indicate that the importance of the literal message of the Old Testament wasn't valued in the days of the New Testament writers as much as it is today.

Yet many Christians today using a literal interpretation of the Old Testament as a way to promote (and enforce) particular theologies and philosophies. I don't think their approach is useful for the instruction of biblical truths.
np category: theology
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