In his lecture yesterday at Florida College, Jason Hardin told the ancient story of The Blind Men and the Elephant. It goes something like this.
Each man touches a part of the elephant and draws his own conclusion of what an elephant is like.
The first blind man put out his hand and touched the side of the elephant. “How smooth! An elephant is like a wall.”
The second blind man extended his hand and felt the elephant’s trunk. “How round! An elephant is like a snake.”
”The third blind man touched the leg of the elephant. “How tall! An elephant is like a tree.”
The fourth blind man touched the tail and said, “How thin! An elephant is like a rope!”
The ancient parable of the blind men and the elephant has been used by Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus to “prove” that every faith, philosophy and religion is just one part of the larger truth about God. In more modern times this fable has been told to illustrate that truth is relative. That each person has a right to perceive what is truth from his personal experience.
A second point often made by skeptics is that faith in God is so limited that we can’t really know who He is. We are blinded by our cultural beliefs. Personal experiences. And Western heritage
There a few things wrong with this analogy that incorrectly apply this fable.
First, the four men are blind! They can’t see the elephant! They are basically limited by their sense of touch.
Secondly, the fable “proves” nothing! It’s only an illustration used to make an assertion. And a false one at that!
Thirdly, the elephant can’t speak! If he could, he could tell the men something about himself and enlighten their understanding.
Jason pointed out that if one wants to use the elephant as an illustration about different views of God, they have forgotten that the elephant has spoken!
In the lecture book Jason wrote, “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. God is not silent. God has spoken, and His word is an expression of Himself as light.”
One of the great verses of the Bible, Psalm 119:105, proclaims this truth: “Your word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path.”
How does the Bible, the Word of God, light our path? Throughout his lesson Jason noted several ways.
(1) “God’s Word serves as a lamp to our feet in the morning, in the daytime, in the evening and the watches of the night” (Ps 59:16; Rom 13:13; Ps 65:5; Ps 63:1-8)
(2) “Light is shed by this God-preserved flame on the plague of sin” (Rom. 1-3)
(3) The Light of God’s Word illuminates “the wonder of grace (Rom 4-7).
(4) “Rays of divine revelation make the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God glisten in the hearts of those with eyes to see and ears to hear (Rom. 9-11).
(5) This Divine Lamp “spotlights the frailty and brevity of our days on this earth” (Ps 90:12)
(6) The “scripture continues to serve as a “darkness-defeating torch in times of temptation” (1 Cor 10:13).
(7) “The fire of God’s Word provides a warm, comforting glow in times of sorrow, hardship, loneliness and heartache” (Ps 73:23-26)
(8) The New Testament “scriptures enlighten our understanding of the nature, work and work of the Lord’s church” (Acts; Ephesians)
(9) “The sacred writing illumines our Heavenly Father’s will concerning marriage, fatherhood, motherhood, childhood, our work ethic, our need for discipline, and the qualities of maturity.”
Thank you, Jason; for sharing the light, and shedding light on the marvelous, enlightening splendor of God’s Word.
Indeed, “the unfolding of (God’s Word) gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” (Ps 119:130)
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman