By Sola Adeyeye
The history of the world is replete with numerous instances in which ecclesiatical juggernauts hampered human progress by uncompromising proclamation and defense of error. For hundreds of years, ecclesiatical leaders persecuted scientists who challenged church orthodoxy that the earth is the stationary and flat center of the universe. Galileo was convicted of heresy for countermanding these woeful doctrinal errors of the church. But Galileo was luckier than others such as Giordarno Bruno who was sentensed to death by burning. His persecutors touted the inerrancy of their revelation rather than considering the possibility of the imperfection of their knowledge.
Because a person’s theology undergirds all aspects of his life, Theology is regarded as the mother of all philosophies. Wherever a theological doctrine is in error, the error would inevitably manifest in other aspects of life. A glaring example is the list of soothsayings that a famous Nigerian preacher recently proclaimed as his prophecies for year 2021.
The preacher anchored his authority on a gross misunderstanding of the verse that God does nothing without revealing it to his servants, the prophets (Amos 3: 7). Not even Amos of Tekoa would proclaim that He had a foreknowledge of all things that God was to do in his time.
Rather, what were revealed to Amos were what were necessary to bring forth repentance and the fruits of righteousness in the nation to which he prophesied. Unlike that Nigerian preacher, Amos knew very well that “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, so that we may follow all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29).
In God’s inscrutable wisdom, His revelation is never designed to make any human being the repository of the knowledge of all future events. Indeed, during His incarnation in the flesh, even Jesus admitted that His Father retained full secrecy over some future events to the extent that even the angels are kept in ignorance!
Alas, a preoccupation with foretelling the future is the hallmark of an evil and adulterous generation that seeks signs. But the just lives by faith- the exercise of confidence in God’s dependability even along uncharted and unknown paths of life.
Great is the mystery of Godliness. Consider the truth that in the Bible, revelations of God often came outside certified “spiritual” locations like the temple or synagogues! For Amos, it came in the meadows of Tekoa. For young Samuel, it came on a bed in Shiloh. For Saul of Tarsus, it came on a road to Damascus.
Is there a part of the universe that is unknown to God? Was God oblivious of subatomic particles prior to the birth of Dalton? Did Isaac Newton teach God the laws of Gravity? When Achimedes discovered the principles we now ascribe to him, was he espousing concepts that were unknown to God? Did Watson and Crick invent the DNA or did they discover that which God foreknew even before Adam was created?
Do our puny minds grasp the infinitude of God so totally that we delineate what He reveals in a laboratory as an artifice from what He reveals spiritually? Was it Edward Jenner that taught God that a virus, rather than Sonpona caused smallpox? Was it Jonas Salk that created the virus that caused polio? Shall we extend contemporary conspiracy theories to past centuries so that we can blame every medical tragedy in human history on the devil and then proceed to blame the pioneer scientists who discovered their causative/etiological agents?
Could we shout from roof tops that the Plasmodium protozoans that cause malaria came from the devil? Should we then impugn Walter Reed for discovering that malaria fever was wrongly named because it was not caused by bad air (= malum aeris in Latin) but by a parasite transmitted by a mosquito! In previous pandemics or epidemics, millions succumbed to typhus fever, relapsing fever, bubonic plague and influenza.
Certainly, the causative bacteria, spirochete, virus and other pathogens were creations of God. Or should we ascribe their creation to the devil? If so, let us go the whole hog by proclaiming that whatever does not suit our wellbeing was created by the devil- tsetse flies, fleas, ticks, locusts, lightnings, thunderstorms, volcanoes earthquakes, snowstorms, blizzards and floods! Perhaps we could even blame the devil for creating rain since there would be no floods or tsunamis in the absence of rain!
But we must leave the ridiculous for the sublime!
The Bible states that the entirety of creation is in travail as a consequence of Adam’s fall. Until God ushers in the new earth, stress and strain shall remain constitutive features of earthly experience. These shall continue to emanate from biotic and abiotic components of our planet!
Those who in past centuries and decades unraveled the biological, chemical or physical basis of sundry diseases are now regarded as heroes.
A few years from now, humanity would have added covid-19 to the list of its medical conquests. Those who are now demonized because of their involvement in making vaccinations against covid-19 will have their names written in gold on the pages of history. For now, as had often been the case with pioneers and pathfinders, they must thicken their skins against the needless assaults of ignorant, mischievous and lying conspiracy theorists.
God does not lie.
Sen. Adeyeye was Chief Whip of the 8th Senate