Biblical Interpretation from Someone with no Training in Biblical Interpretation
There’s a song by the band Nirvana called “In Bloom.” In the song’s chorus the writer, Kurt Cobain, criticizes what many would call “fair weather fans.” He wrote,
“He’s the one who likes all our pretty songs
And he likes to sing along
And he likes to shoot his gun
But he don’t know what it means
Don’t know what it means when I say…”
In case you’re wondering what comes after the ellipsis, it’s the chorus repeated, the line never finishes because it doesn’t really need to since the argument has already been made that said listener doesn’t really understand anything he sings. The point is that Cobain was bothered by the people who’d say they were Nirvana fans and come to the concerts but didn’t get his message and wouldn’t pay attention to the non-hits. Christianity also has a lot of “fair weather Christians” and the Holy Spirit wouldn’t let me get out of writing about it.
Now, I’m focusing today on “Nevermind” Christians (or “Dark Side of the Moon” Christians for Pink Floyd fans). These are Christians who happily accept salvation and having God watch over them, but have decided to pick and choose the legitimacy of God’s albums (books of the Bible). The New Testament? Oh yeah, that’s like the Beatles’ line-up, not a bad album in the bunch (well, Jude and Revelation are a little tough and James isn’t commercially viable, but the other stuff is gold). But the Old Testament…well…um…yeah. People get behind science instead and say that God didn’t make the earth in a week even though the Bible clearly tells us, “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy” (Exodus 20:11). Or people talk about dinosaurs becoming extinct from a meteor when the actual paleontological and geological evidence points to something even more extreme. Something like say the Flood of Noah. Check out how Scripture describes the event:
For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet. Every living thing that moved on the earth perished – birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth and all mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark (Genesis 7:17-23).
That’s a pretty hardcore event that would absolutely account for a massive extinction, and also explain why there are different layers of rock covering all the fossils we find (because during the flood’s recession, the various sediments would have settled based on weight). People who deny such events outlined in the Bible and yet praise Jesus are like people who say they love Nirvana but claim that the album Bleach isn’t by them – that’s a stupid claim that nobody makes, by the way. So why do we let people say the same about the Bible?
Paul, George, John and Ringo all referenced the Beatles (and even re-used Beatles songs when playing live) during their solo careers. Wouldn’t it be foolish to make the claim that any of them weren’t Beatles (“Paul is dead” stuff aside)? But we do that to God and his Word. The Bible quotes Jesus in John 8:58, “’I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’” Ok, we believe in his eternalness, but Jesus also said,
As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man (Matthew 24:37-39).
And he also said,
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?” (Matthew 19:4-5)
Clearly Jesus believed the Old Testament. Now if you trust Paul McCartney as a solo artist, shouldn’t you at least acknowledge his Beatles career?
There are a lot of difficult things in the Old Testament that are hard to understand. That’s why I used Nirvana as the example at the beginning. Everyone can get behind their hit album, Nevermind, with its songs like “Come as You Are” and whatnot, but their first album, Bleach, is less kind on the ears. It’s still Nirvana, though, and it is part of their overall message. It’s hypocritical to say “I love Nirvana” but disavow Bleach. Well, it’s also hypocritical to say, “I love the Lord” but not acknowledge his first 39 albums (except Psalms, everyone loves Psalms).