by Albert Garlando
Having read the Bible through many times over many years in many different ways I’ve always been trying to improve my comprehension of how, if at all, the whole story fits together. And not just in a systematic or logical way, but in the sense of how it teaches me about who God is, why he acts the way he does and what, if anything, I’m meant to do in response.
One can dismiss it as a haphazard sedimentation of religious manipulation collected to control the masses or pacify the minorities, but that doesn’t explain the impact it has had across diverse (and often opposed) cultures and social groups throughout history.
So, if the Bible is one big book with an editor-in-chief overseeing its entire construction, then what is that structure? Is it visible only to select initiates, requiring the identification of secret codes? Different groups have made this claim to establish themselves as a source of authority.
But the nature of the book and the author it represents is one of openness and perspicuity. God is the revealer of secrets, his spokespeople are the ones who communicate for the purpose of making things clearer, not more obscure. The book that more people avoid reading because of its purported difficulty is the one book that offers to uncover and reveal what is really going on behind the scenes. Why is it so hard?
Maybe because we are looking for something more complicated than what we’ve received. Maybe the hidden message is actually hidden in plain sight. You can call the “Bible matrix” a pattern, a plan, a habit, an architectural design — the name is irrelevant. The point is that right from the start of the Bible, there’s a recurring formula inherent in the way God shows and tells who he is, how he works and what he wants from his creation.
Indeed, it is a pattern that pervades all of creation: from the way you go about your day-to-day life; how you set the table and serve guests a meal; how a romantic relationship develops and is consummated; the plot of your favourite movie or novel — all hidden, but hidden in plain sight. And once you’ve seen the matrix, you can’t un-see it. The obscure and apparently random things that didn’t make sense in Bible narratives suddenly make perfect sense because God is doing the same thing, in the same way, just with different people in a different place and time.
God hasn’t changed and because we need to be told the same thing a dozen or so times before it really sinks in, thankfully, he hasn’t changed the way he acts nor what he wants us to do in response. God creates and reveals himself so that we might know him, approach him, receive from him and take what he has given and use it to magnify him. When you see that this is essentially what is happening in Genesis 1 and realize that this formula repeats itself throughout the entire Bible, the key is in your hand, all the doors are open, and you don’t need to have it all explained. Your eyes are opened and you respond with delight and praise, art and music, and a new joy in the fact that this exact shape is built into every facet of an obedient human life.
(Look at the 3D image above. Can you see the dolphins hidden in plain sight? It might take a minute for your eyes to focus.)