Theology vs The Bible– 1.0

From my earliest days, I was immersed in the Holy Scriptures. My parents would read the bible to me each night when I was really young and then somewhere around age 8 I started reading the bible daily on my own. By the time I was 10, I was reading several chapters a day and by 13, I was reading anywhere between 10-30 chapters each day. Needless to say, I’m a bit of a fanatic when it comes to reading the Bible. Perhaps a bit crazy as well.

Because of all of this Bible reading, from an early age I’ve been acutely aware of the inconsistencies in the way we read and understand the bible, especially as it relates to how Christian theology and the scriptures do not line up all of the time. As a kid around the age of 7, I remember learning the story of Samuel and how Hannah took Samuel o the temple of YHWH at Shiloh. As a keen observer at the age of 7, I noticed the immediate inconsistency with what we had been taught. The temple was built by Solomon several decades after the time of Samuel. Up until this time, there was supposed to be a tabernacle as described in Exodus. However, when we come to the book of Samuel, hardly any mention is given to a tabernacle. But here in 1 Samuel 1, we have a temple at Shiloh.

As a child, some adult gave me the explanation that temple and tabernacle are used interchangeably. That sounded like garbage even when I was a kid. As an adult who can now look this stuff up, I now understand that there are various textual traditions in the scriptures. One tradition creates a priestly line that must be descendants of Aaron, another tradition believes priests can be any Levite, other traditions allow for lots of people to make sacrifices before YHWH. One tradition centers on the temple at Jerusalem whereas other traditions allow for worship and sacrifice at other locations. One tradition makes it out to have God living in a tabernacle until the day that YHWH descends in a pillar of smoke on Solomon’s temple whereas another tradition has a temple in Shiloh before the Solomonic age.

All of this to say that our traditions and theology do not always align with the bible and even the bible contains many voices, sometimes in contention with one another. In our humanity, we create constructs to understand God and talk about theological ideas. These constructs each have their failings. As such, our scriptures present to us a diversity of constructs and voices by which to discuss and contemplate the interaction between heaven and earth (a phrase which in itself is a construct).

In the future, I want to continue to explore these various contentions in scripture and between the scriptures and theology.

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