Wisdom-Trek / Creating a Legacy
Welcome to Day 1251 of our Wisdom-Trek, and thank you for joining me.
I am Guthrie Chamberlain, Your Guide to Wisdom
Mastering the Bible -The Known World – Worldview Wednesday
Wisdom – the final frontier to true knowledge. Welcome to Wisdom-Trek where our mission is to create a legacy of wisdom, to seek out discernment and insights, and to boldly grow where few have chosen to grow before.
Hello, my friend, I am Guthrie Chamberlain, your captain on our journey to increase wisdom and create a living legacy. Thank you for joining us today as we explore wisdom on our 2nd millennium of podcasts. This is Day 1251 of our trek, and it is Worldview Wednesday. Creating a Biblical Worldview is important to have a proper perspective on today’s current events.
To establish a Biblical Worldview, you must also have a proper understanding of God and His Word. Our focus for the next several months on Worldview Wednesday is Mastering the Bible, through a series of brief insights. These insights are extracted from a book of the same title from one of today’s most prominent Hebrew Scholars, Dr. Micheal S. Heiser. This book is a collection of insights designed to help you understand the Bible better. When we let the Bible be what it is, we can understand it as the original readers did, and as its writers intended. Each week we will explore two insights.
Mastering the Bible – The Known World
Insight Eleven: The World Known to the Biblical Writers Was a Lot Smaller Than Ours
Genesis 10 is known to Bible scholars as the “Table of Nations.” The chapter is a biblical explanation of what happened in the centuries after Noah and his family disembarked the ark, having survived the flood. The Table of Nations describes how the descendants of Noah’s three sons—Shem, Ham, and Japheth—repopulated the earth, forming the nations known in the rest of the Old Testament story. In terms of the unfolding narrative of Genesis, the chapter is a precursor to the Tower of Babel story (Genesis. 11:1—9), where the nations were divided and dispersed by God.
There’s an obvious problem with the Table of Nations—or for those who let the Bible be what it is, an obvious disconnect between the world of the biblical writers and the world we know today. The Table of Nations shows no knowledge whatsoever of the geography belonging to North America, South America, Australia, China, India, and Scandinavia. The same is true of the knowledge of earth’s geography in the New Testament (Acts 2). The known world in biblical times covered a fraction of the size of the globe we know today.
This is no surprise if we let the Bible be what it is. The biblical “world” is composed of seventy nations that are situated in what we now call the ancient Near East (or modern Middle East) on the landmasses that surround the Mediterranean Sea. There is no hint in the Scriptures of any landmass beyond this region.
We can learn a lesson from other’s misguided attempts to make the Bible into something it isn’t with respect to the true size of the world. Once Europeans achieved the ability to cross the Atlantic and circumnavigate the world, people immediately questioned where these other countries and people came from. Most Europeans, well familiar with the Bible, presumed these people must have come from Adam. But how did the descendants of Noah produce these peoples?
All sorts of strange proposals were offered in answer to these questions. Those efforts, in turn, produced theories of race, including the theory that non-European (nonwhite) races came from subhumans or humans separate from and inferior to Adam. The rest is history. Europeans believed that embracing these explanations, which are inherently flawed and racist, was necessary to preserve biblical authority. Despite their absence in the Table of Nations, the Bible had to speak to the discovery of these new lands and peoples. These interpretive gymnastics institutionalized racial ideas that the Bible never endorses.
Insight Twelve: Biblical Writers Believed That God Made the World They Knew, Not the World They Didn’t Know
The biblical writers didn’t know a lot of things we know today. That’s especially true when it comes to areas like medicine, engineering, and science. Today, many Christians want to make the Bible a source of science due to the perceived threat of evolution. Other Bible believers try to force certain passages into teaching evolutionary theory. But the biblical writers had no concept of a theory that was formulated in the nineteenth century. Both approaches are flawed and don’t allow the Bible to be what it is.
The biblical authors were premodern and, therefore, prescientific in the modern sense. The Bible itself informs us of this in some transparent ways. For example, ancient Israelites believed the seat of emotions and decision-making was the internal organs such as the heart, intestines, kidneys, which are listed in several passages. We use such language today metaphorically because we know that emotions are brain-based. Biblical Hebrew doesn’t even have a word for “brain.”
Hebrews 7:4-10 mentions that the descendants of Levi existed in the loins of Abraham. We know from modern science that a person’s full genetics results from conception, an insight into procreation of which the author of Hebrews would have had no concept.
Biblical cosmology is also prescientific. For example, many interpreters see in Old Testament passages a three-tiered universe: heavens above, the earth beneath, and water under the earth (Exodus 20:4; Philippians [2:10]; Revelations 5:3). This perspective would have been common throughout the ancient Near East and Mediterranean.
The biblical writers had no intention (or ability) to teach modern science in Genesis or any other passage. They put forth ideas that transcend the facts of biology, physics, chemistry, and any other hard science: God created the world and everything in it. This assertion does not contradict science, though many scientists want to resist it. God, in His wisdom, gave us a truth proposition that surpasses scientific theories and debates. Let critics deride the Bible for not being what it wasn’t intended to be— they will sound hopelessly foolish.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, “He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness.”
That will conclude this week’s lesson on another two insights from Dr. Heiser’s book “Mastering the Bible.” Next Worldview Wednesday, we will continue with two additional insights. I believe you will find each Worldview Wednesday an interesting topic to consider as we build our Biblical worldview.
Tomorrow we will continue with our 3-minute humor nugget that will provide you with a bit of cheer and help you to lighten up and live a rich and satisfying life. So encourage your friends and family to join us and then come along with us tomorrow for another day of our Wisdom-Trek, Creating a Legacy.
If you would like to listen to any of our past 1250 treks or read the Wisdom Journal, they are available at Wisdom-Trek.com. I encourage you to subscribe to Wisdom-Trek on your favorite podcast player so that each day’s trek will be downloaded automatically.
Thank you so much for allowing me to be your guide, mentor, and, most of all, your friend as I serve you through the Wisdom-Trek podcast and journal.
As we take this trek together, let us always:
- Live Abundantly (Fully)
- Love Unconditionally
- Listen Intentionally
- Learn Continuously
- Lend to others Generously
- Lead with Integrity
- Leave a Living Legacy Each Day
I am Guthrie Chamberlain reminding you to Keep Moving Forward, Enjoy Your Journey, and Create a Great Day Everyday! See you tomorrow!