the light of other days

April 26, 2007

I’ve been reading The light of other days by Arthur C. Clark and Stephen Baxter these past few days. In the not-to-distant future, the third decade of this century, wormhole technology gets to the point where it can be used as a viewpoint to any other place on earth, without leaving a trace, called a Wormcam. Privacy becomes a thing of the past.

However, since space and time can be seen on the same level as space-time, it doesn’t take long to before this technology can be used to view any point in history, and as the technology progress, further and further back. It changes the face of detective work, suddenly cheating on your spouse cannot be hidden any longer. And the myths of history gets tested. The Titanic, Robin Hood, King Arthur and the Crusades…

As I have said previously, Clark has a way of touching on the topic of religion and spirituality from time to time. This time is no exception. Through one of these Wormcams the history of Moses gets looked into, but little remains of this mythical figure, rather, the myth turns out to be a combination of a lot of different people.

Then Clark turns to Jesus, and spends a whole chapter on the life of Jesus. In the story, 12000 people get together, each studying one day in the life of Jesus, to compile a history of the life of Jesus. And it turns out to be different from the account of the four evangelists. Some core doctrines get questioned, some new insights appear. In a very interesting way the last moments on the cross becomes forever hidden from human eyes. And the resurrection is not discussed.

It seems that Clark did he’s research better than, for example, Dan Brown. Many of the things he wrote touch on research and reconstructions made in the academic world. Obviously Clark do not have access to Wormcam technology, and what he present us with is no objective view of history (if ever that would exist, a question that keeps on being asked in the book), but simply another possible interpretation (again this word we are busy discussing). But what if…

In studies in History, Ancient Languages and Cultures, Archeology, Theology etc many times claims have been made that the historical reality might not be equal to that found in the Bible. What if ever we find some kind of Wormcam, a way to look into past, just to find out that things have been different than we thought? What if…

Was the Bible ever intended to be read as literally historically correct? Or was the intention to present us with a way to understand our world, God, and God’s work in this world. By using history, myths, sometimes a combination of the two. By creating theology, not history, although it’s theology created in the context of history.

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2 Responses to “the light of other days”

  1. youcouldfeelthesky Says:

    sounds like a glowing review to me (and plenty of good questions). i’m interested enough to search for this novel and read it. thanks!

  2. cobus Says:

    Let me know if you’ve read it, would like to hear some thoughts. These two authors are really worth reading.


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