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The Bible Is a Parable: A Middle Ground Between Science and Religion


Chapter 19
Does History Repeat Itself?
Experience is a hard teacher. The test comes before the learning.
Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it in some
manner.
There are those who would argue that it is impossible for history to repeat itself; that
each generation is presented with a set of problems that is unique to it and that history is
of little use in addressing them.
-There are changes in the environment that makes the repetition of a solution less
satisfactory than its first application, | they would submit. -There are also changes in the
levels of knowledge, community organization, and cultural practices that prevent the
successful reuse of static, traditional, unchanging solutions | they aver.
I don‘t agree with that proposition. While these and other things tend to change over
time, their cumulative effect is not such as to make a current problem unrecognizable
with those of past ages. If any of these influences or a combination of them is seen to
render past practice ineffective in any major way, the cultural entity thus afflicted does
not usually survive.
History does teach us that human nature has largely remained unchanged through the
broad sweep of time. Because of this, cultural rules of behavior and taboos against certain
practices have been passed from one generation to another under the rubric of a moral
code. Any efforts to ignore these guideposts have imposed such a burden of
unsatisfactory consequences as to have discouraged any permanence to these floutings.
That‘s why these moral practices have been called the wisdom of the ages.
I contend that there are elements within the broad sweep of history, from prehistoric,
to oral, then written, that seem to repeat themselves. It is the things that are changeable
which seem to require adaptations of these tried-and-true prescriptions that have given
rise to the saying, that -the devil is in the details! |
I think that I have discovered some of these elements within the Bible. I feel that they
are broad and also subtle enough as to have remained largely unnoticed until now. It has
only been the accidental juxtaposition of two of these elements that have piqued my
curiosity to look more widely. And so, now that I felt that I knew what I was looking for,
I went all the way back to the beginning.
The biblical Genesis story, borrowed or original, seeks to describe what even our
most modern efforts through science have only been able to vaguely imply. Imagine how
proud that original author of this first of all stories, that storyteller-of-old, would be to
find out how well he had described what he had seen through that spiritual journey he‘d
had the immensely good fortune to have gone on. To have come that close to our present-
day scientific theory when nothing obvious, in the ancient world of his day, could have
prompted him to that kind of understanding, is nothing short of amazing. But isn‘t that
why -belief | is employed? Why it is important? Some way of accepting and learning how
to use what is way beyond our understanding?
There seem to be elements, some come as a closely coupled pair while others occur in
a trilogy, all periodically repeated, that are to be the subject of my inquiry.
 
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