Essays, Stories, Adventures, Dreams
Chronicles of a Footloose Forester
By Dick Pellek
Ezekiel Was a Prophet, Not a Horticulturist
Show me the person who thinks that every single word in the Bible is literally true, and I will show you a person who will be hard-pressed to explain how Methuselah lived to be 900 years old, how Moses managed to herd various dinosaurs from around the world, and how Joshua was able to crumble the walls of Jericho with his puny trumpets.
And the walls of Jericho came tumbling down
For the record, the iconoclastic and contrarian Footloose Forester has been a steady churchgoer for over 70 years. He believes in the message of Jesus Christ, the greatness of our universe and has faith that we on earth are children of God. But he does not believe every word written by the various authors of the 60 books that nominally constitute the Christian Bible. Although he is particularly fond of parables as a way to explain events to the ignorant and the unenlightened, his level of tolerance has its limits. Consider the following from Ezekiel 17: 22-24
I, too, will take from the crest of the cedar, from its topmost branches tear off a tender shoot,
and plant it on a high and lofty mountain… it shall put forth branches and bear fruit,
and become a majestic cedar.
Although Ezekiel makes clear that he attributes many wondrous things to the Lord God who commands the trees thus,
And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the Lord, bring low the high tree,
lift high the lowly tree, wither up the green tree, and make the withered tree bloom.
It does not take an act of faith to believe that fire and disease can bring low the high tree, or that rich soil and adequate moisture can lift high the lowly tree, and that progressive disease can wither up the green tree but fighting that disease can make the withered tree bloom. All of those phenomena occur in nature, under the vigilant gaze of God. When it comes to propagating a cedar from a shoot from the uppermost branches, however; the doubting Footloose Forester becomes slightly gobsmacked. Was this a parable about propagation of cedar by cuttings? There is enough hyperbole in biblical passages to make the descriptions quasi-scientific, but it requires one to stretch their imagination beyond normal limits. Perhaps that was part of the art in being considered a Prophet.