The Bible is recognized by very many people as the most important written text in existence, the “greatest treasure this world affords” as it says in the coronation service for English monarchs. But this does not mean all these people come to the same conclusions from what they read. This is because there is more than one way of understanding how to learn from the Bible. I will describe this in terms of three metaphors, and, as an illustration, apply them to the consideration of same-sex marriage.
Held by an image of our outer space:
Spots, dots, and whirls of white and red,
Time-tunneling in silent grace,
Parsecs where only thought can tread.
Blue blazes of the younger fire,
Red smudges of the ancient mist,
Vast mergers of the flowing gyre
Down ages of the world persist.
These distant forms of space and truth
Work back upon the thoughts we frame;
Prayer wrestles with a shaping sieve:
Dead words or else a larger name.
Come, heart, and ask in mindful voice,
Draws over there that which can love?
Lights there a dance which can rejoice?
Rests there a hold of things above?