The words of the Bible have changed hardly at all since they were first written (albeit we mostly read them in a translated language today).
The Wisdom they contain does not vary – it remains constant.
As the Case of Galileo Galilei (man of Gallilee perhaps?) shows: those who are supposedly the best at distributing such Wisdom to the masses – those who live their lives by it and are devoted to extolling it to others from positions of Great Authority – can and do undergo 180 degree turn arounds in their ‘opinions’ and understandings of the Wisdom.
While there are many today who hold the literal interpretation of Biblical Creationism because ‘clearly’ the Bible states this is so, and despise Evolution as unproven ‘theory’ (bordering, to some, on par with a theory of Mars as being the origin of UFO’s) few would today claim that the earth is the centre of the Universe and the Sun revolves around the Earth.
And yet one of mankind’s single most gifted and talented scientific minds, Galileo, who almost single-handedly developed modern scientific method, to which we all owe so very much in our modern lives, was kept under house arrest until his death, for teaching his students this ‘heresy’ against Holy Scripture and against God. (that it was the Sun our Earth revolved around, contrary to Scripture that states in many places ‘the foundations of the Earth cannot be moved’).
This was not a rash and ill-considered view by a single bishop or Pope. The greatest theologians and advisors were long considered and consulted and many people involved in providing all available ‘evidence’ before the Church’s official position on the subject was determined and as a result Galileo was ordered to recant his view, his writings were banned and other scientific work supporting the view was rejected and to be avoided by all ‘good Christians’ of the modern ( 17th century) world.
It took almost 400 years for the head of the Catholic Church to formally apologise for this injustice and false teaching (that the Sun revolves around the Earth) spread by a ‘divinely’ inspired organisation trying to hold to the ‘Word of God’.
The current Pope, Benedict XVI, (who was a mere cardinal at the time) basically said a while back (1990) that his Church had every right to do what it did to Galileo. Yesterday he paid tribute to Galileo on the 400th anniversary of his invention and use of the telescope. He also said: “understanding the laws of nature can stimulate understanding and appreciation of the Lord’s works.”
An understanding of the laws of man’s mind and that those who most of us rely upon to explain the Lord’s Wisdom and Laws to them are also able to, perhaps even with the best of intent, often interpret Scripture to suit their own purpose more than they do God’s Purpose would go a long way to stimulating understanding and True appreciation of the Lord’s Works also.
Scripture is Truth – but all of us are often very poor judges of what is His Truth is, as contained within the words we read or hear, as opposed to our own ‘version’ of the ‘truth’ such words contain. We ‘fit them’ into our own understanding, based upon what we were like and believed before, and in doing so can allow previous misunderstanding to remain within our ‘newer’ understanding – often missing out on getting the complete truth in the process.
In Short: we are human and fallible – subject to making error.
To Err is human – to forgive, Divine.
The Earth Moves – this is Truth! – despite how we could read otherwise in Scripture. Galileo suspected it, tested it and eventually believed it over what His Church tried to force him to agree to and over what ‘everyone’ else ‘understood’/believed, at the time…
Even the ‘infallible’ Authority of the most powerful Church in the world is made up of men – and men frequently don’t understand anything very well.
Which is why Scripture tells us to put all things to the test.
The Church did that in Galileo’s view of the orbit of the Earth – and still got it wrong! It took nearly 400 years for Pope John Paul II to apologise for this error. (1992 – some 23 years AFTER Americans had walked on the Moon and had seen the Earth ‘rise’ over it’s horizon).
Holding onto a Faith in God is one thing – holding onto a Faith of man’s interpretation of God and his Word while rejecting the underlying Truth in a matter is another thing all together.
Put your Faith in God – not your own understanding of Him… and just because you have ‘tested’ something, does not mean you still have it quite ‘Right’! And that can apply even if you are an ‘infallible’ Pope and have consulted ‘experts’.
Galileo was a man, a man of God, a scientist, and acclaimed and treated as a heretic by other ‘holy men of God’. He was a prophet who spoke God’s Truth truly and was punished for it by those who claimed Authority over God’s Word.
I have to wonder what God was saying to those who accused Galileo, why the accusers could not see for themselves how Truth was newly being revealed to them, by a man who had Faith in his own method over ‘accepted’ Wisdom of the time.
Much like the Man Jesus had when facing His Accusers.
The majority view of man is not always that of God.