Wednesday, February 20, 2008

All comments gratefully received

I've just received this e-mail, which I plan to reply to probably tomorrow, and I already have a good idea how I'm going to reply to it (it's from somebody that I've met in real-life as opposed to over the internet!) but I'd be interested to know how other theologians/clerics would reply.

I wonder if I can ask you about something which is puzzling me, and which I cannot ask the average Christian. I do not expect the average Christian to have read Leviticus 25, but I assume that one does not become a vicar without reading the complete Bible.

While browsing your site I found “3rd November - shibboleth #1 - "But the Bible says..." “. Were Leviticus 25 verses 20 and 21 amongst those discussed.

I find these verses very interesting. It is the only place I can think of where God makes a clear promise that something verifiable will happen at a regular time, i.e. every 7 years the crops in Israel will yield “the fruits of 3 years”. It is also the only promise which is not dependant on the behaviour or belief of people. God promises the bumper harvest so that the following year the Israelites will be able to keep the commandment to let the land lie fallow.

God clearly does not keep this promise. Charitable appeals are made to support the farmers who do keep the Shmitta year, and the Rabbis and Israeli Supreme court jump through hoops to keep most Israelis from obeying the restrictions in Leviticus 25. I have asked several people who claim that the restrictions should be observed if they can give any figures to show how harvests vary over the years. They have all been silent.

Christianity requires that one has faith that God will keep His promises. How do you and other thinking Christians cope with the fact that there is a clear promise which it is easy to prove God does not keep? (I don’t trust anyone who does not keep promises.)

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