12/29/08

Is the Bible Skeptical About Miracles? - The Fleece

Part 1: The Apostle Thomas: Patron Saint of Scientists?
Part 2: Moses as Skeptical Scientist


To read/Or not to read


In Judges chapter 6 we encounter Gideon and his son Joash who lived during a period of Israelite history during which they were conquered by the Midianites and also accosted by the Amalekites “and the people of the East.”

In verse 14 God tells Gideon “you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”
What transpires next is interesting; Gideon asks for a sign that he is indeed being sent by God. He is not blindly acting but is seeking confirmation.
“So Gideon said to God, ‘If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said—look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said.’ And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water” (v. 36-38)

His experiment was set up to seek confirmation and he set the parameters: if dew only on the fleece but not on the ground. Moreover, he confirmed the results by ringing out the fleece.



Yet, he was not done. He set us another experiment
“Then Gideon said to God, ‘Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.’ And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground” (v. 39-40).


Thus, Gideon set up two experiments which were to produce precisely opposite results. Having had each experiment succeed he was convinced. Keep our premise in mind; it is not what we think about whether this really happened but rather, how it is handled. It was handled skeptically and scientifically—this is the biblical pattern.

1 comment:

  1. This blog sure has gotten lame.
    You boys really need to pick up the pace.

    ReplyDelete