Scripture is Music, not Math


(system) #1
The Bible is a song to be sung, not an equation to to be solved.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://biologos.org/blogs/jim-stump-faith-and-science-seeking-understanding/scripture-is-music-not-math

(Christy Hemphill) #2

Nice word picture.


(Donald Johnson) #3

On the 2 proverbs, I think they are really only 1 couplet proverb, but the added verse numbers means one can see them as opposing each other in their wisdom. My take is that the couplet is explaining that there are at least 2 ways of responding, but that either way carries its risks. This could be helpful in giving wisdom, for example, to a reader that thinks there is only one correct way of responding. Now they see there are at least two ways each with risks and perhaps they will try the other and see how it goes.


(Phil) #4

Agreed, you can respond either way, and knowing which way to respond is wisdom.

I really enjoyed the math vs music imagery, and the idea of biblical expressions forming chords and harmony.


(Larry Bunce) #5

I am sorry to see that this great post resulted in so few comments. The analogy of scripture with music seems perfect to me. The varied and sometimes contradictory statements in the Bible can be seen as variations on a theme, and dissonance resolving into harmony.
I have found most traditional explanations of inconsistencies in the Bible to be less than satisfactory, but I would assume that biblical scholars over the millennia were not blind to them, so that there was some resolution. Perhaps the problem with modern explanations is that we are trying to treat an ancient text from varied sources as if it were a modern history, science, and legal document.
The four Gospels do not agree on every detail, but together they give us a better picture of Jesus than a modern biography plus live video of the Sermon on the Mount.


(Larry Bunce) #6

On a technical note, the amen cadence at the end of a hymn is not a suspension, but two major triads, the first one based on the 4th note of the scale, and the 2nd based in the first note of the scale. This would be notated as a IV-I chord progression. The suspended chord (1-4-5 in the blog post) is used frequently in guitar introductions to folk songs.


(Phil) #7

I agree, Larry. It is a great analogy. We see scripture and music both having varied depths of meaning to different individuals, and speaking to us in different ways at different times of life.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #8

Reality is not simple, therefore our understanding of Reality must not be simple or linear.

God is not Simple or legalistic. God is Trinity and holistic.

Life is not simple or linear as evolution would have it be. Life is interactive and holistic as ecology is.

Music is interactive, changing, and holistic as is life and history. Much of scripture is poetry, and Hebrew is a poetic language. Jesus taught in stories and metaphors, poetic language even in the Greek. Paul translated these Hebrew images into Greek thought without the philosophy.

The Trinity has caught the complex/one Reality of both God, humans created in God’s Image, and God’s Creation.


(Casper Hesp) #9

If you think life is “simple or linear” according to evolution, you are gravely mistaken.


(Donald Johnson) #10

Yes, there are certainly tensions in Scripture, as pointed out in the article.

On the first 2 Creation/Origins accounts, I see 3 such accounts in early Genesis starting with Gen 1:1, Gen 2:4 and Gen 5:1 plus there are others in Scripture. My take is the tensions overwhelm any attempts to put them together into a single story, which means to me that I am freed from trying to do that. I see them like parables where the details of one story do not need to be reconciled with the details of another.