The Clever Plan story developed from the question of how God, who says he knows the end from the beginning, could admit not knowing something that he later knew. I have asked honest questions like that ever since I was a boy, and the answer to this one came decades after I first asked for it. When it came, I started to put it into a story which grew as I thought about who would narrate. The most relevant verses in the Tanakh (Christians call it the Old Testament) are Jeremiah 7:31 and 19:5. The “hang everything on nothing” verse is Job 26:7.
The Jeremiah verses are plain enough, although when I was a boy the religious authorities explained God’s stated lack of awareness as a poetical device. But after some years I was not satisfied with that and took my question directly to God since both he and my mother said I could do that. Mom had led me to Jesus when I was going on eight years old, and she also gave me the powerful advice that anytime God talked to his people in the Bible, I could now put my name there. Well! James 1:5 says, “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God…” and (with apologies to Sojourner Truth) ain’t I a man?
As to the verse in Job, there is a similar problem the authorities handled differently. The Hebrew says, “He ... hangs the Earth upon nothing.” This is like hanging a picture on a wall that isn't there. Hebrew has far fewer words than English and most can have several meanings that are driven by context. But translators can be tempted to choose a translation that fits their limited understanding. Hence, one translator, who does not understand Newton’s discoveries as they apply to Job 26:7, gives us, “He hangs the Earth over nothing.” This seems correct as far as it goes, but is incomplete and can be misleading, given the physics we now know. Putting humans on a planet they can explore entirely must require hanging it on nothing. Otherwise, they would bump into a pedestal or chain and start to explore that.
The Clever Plan story and notes still get tweaked. The most recent was an edit of these notes on 1/09/2021. Each tweak session leaves me with two certainties: first that whatever I am working on is finally done, and second that another question about it may pop to mind.
Copyright 2018--2021, Lewis Jenkins, All rights reserved.