Listened to an interesting piece this morning on NPR. It was about a new book (A More Perfect Heaven) about Copernicus and the publication of his On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres. Apparently he waited several years to publish this work because of the controversy it raised in claiming that the earth was not the center of the universe.
The reporter said that people at the time all knew the sun, stars, and planets revolved around the earth. Here is the part that got my attention, “and the Bible said so,” she reported.
I never knew the Bible said that the sun, stars, and planets all revolved around the earth. Did you?
We do not read the Bible this way because we live more than 500 years later. The earth revolving around the sun is not a controversy for us, so we do not read the Bible as though it claims the sun revolves around the earth.
At Austin Avenue United Methodist Church’s Fall Festival, a couple of college seniors asked about this Fallout Shelter sign. Not only did they not know what it meant for the church building to be a fallout shelter, they had no concept of what a fallout shelter was.
As much as this surprised everyone over 30, there is something happy about younger people not having to know what a fallout shelter was (is). It is not part of their world, so they don’t need to know.
Much like the way we read the Bible, we read “signs of the times” depending on the culture we grow up in. Some things about the way others read, or the knowledge or background others bring to interpret signs astound us.
I cannot help but wonder what kinds of things you and I take for granted will be looked back on 20, 40, 100 years from now with this same perspective.