Revelation is Not Dependent on our Intellectual or Moral Perfection

and that fact is under discussion over at the Register.  I hope this piece does not, but expect this piece may, generate a bit of controversy with Fundamentalists–whether atheist, Protestant or (embarrassingly, since they should know better) Catholic–since it points out that, no, Jacob did not have a grasp of modern genetics (a science pioneered by the Augustinian Gregor Mendel with the enthusiastic support of his order) and subscribed to the ordinary ignorant Bronze Age folk beliefs of his time and culture.  And that’s okay.

  • Rebecca Fuentes

    It says comments are closed. Weird. (Good little article, though).

    • chezami

      Weird. Looking into that. I enabled comments when I published it.

  • JohnE_o

    Which do you think more likely, Mark – that the story happened as recorded because Jehovah suspended the rules of genetics or that the story didn’t actually happen, but was a Hebrew folktale demonstrating the cleverness of one of their founding Patriarchs?

    • chezami

      Why would the story require a suspension of genetics? If a bad tennis player throws his racket and gets the ball over the net, does that require a suspension of the laws of physics?

    • Alma Peregrina

      The rules of genetics were not suspended. They just happened to fall in line with Jacob’s trick, that’s all.

  • http://hjg.com.ar/ Hernán J. González

    “The point is that God condescended to help Jacob despite the man’s ignorance of genetics, because he had plans for Jacob [...] God’s mastery of the universe is so subtle that he can work within real genetic laws and the ignorant notions of Bronze Age men”

    Several problems here.

    When we say “X condescended to help Y despite Z”, the “despite” implies that Z was a factor (negative though not relevant enough) in the decision. And that -here- does not make sense. Jacob’s ignorance of genetics must be discarded on a most fundamental level: it’s irrelevant, not in reference to God’s “plans”, but with respect to intention of the story.

    If I say “Mickey Mouse gave Minnie a bunch of flowers, despite her bad behaviour” … this makes sense, that’s “inside” the story.

    If I say “Mickey Mouse gave Minnie a bunch of flowers, despite the difficulty that Disney’s artists had drawing flowers”… this would sound crazy; even if the difficulty was real, the “decision” would be outside the story.

    The starting words “The point is…” makes this problem worse, because -precisely- that’s not the point at all. The point is that God had plans for Jacob. Stop.

    To emphasize that the ignorance of genetics was in Jacob’s mind, might suggest to some readers that outside that (in the writer of the story? or in God?) there was a correct understading of the laws of genetics working to making the story advance. There (probably) wasn’t, and it’s wholly irrelevant.


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