Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Diamond Hardness and Revelation

One of the more persistent and annoying misunderstandings in the general consciousness these days concerns the geological property “hardness” as it relates to diamonds. OK, maybe it is just annoying to a certain, nerdy portion of the populace. But, come on! This is an Earth Sciences 101 issue.

Roughly speaking, hardness indicates how a substance will react to a force applied to it. Can you scratch it? Toughness, on the other hand, indicates a materials ability to resist fracturing. While diamonds are well known as the hardest of substances, however they are only moderately tough. So, while they can only be scratched by other diamonds, they are relatively easy to break.

The misconception out there is that diamonds are indestructible. This is commonly seen in entertainment like movies and television. Even “smart” shows like “The Mentalist” use this untruth, as seen in the episode promo below.

This misunderstanding about diamonds is similar to another misconception concerning the Bible. Whether you subscribe to the term inerrant, infallible or some other word for how the Bible communicates truth, the way that the Bible is the Word of God is misunderstood by a majority of people.

What would the equivalent of taking a fire extinguisher to try to smash a diamond in Biblical revelation terms be? How about claiming that the Bible can be used to teach anything, including things that the Bible does not address? Or maybe trying to claim that the Bible can only be used to support one stance on all the secondary issues of faith like eschatology or church polity?

The point is that interpretation is an important aspect of the Word of God. A lot of careful work and thought need to go into the reading of the Bible, not to mention divine assistance. It is all good and well to throw about ideas like inerrancy or infallibility, but care needs to be taken not to create litmus tests of faith based on particular interpretations of particular issues.

A lot of fractures have been created by brute force when all that was called for was scratching the surface.

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