Did Adam and Eve have navels is a silly question. But this navel question has troubled theologians forever, because each question comes value-packed with a bunch of other questions, too.
Once upon a time, in the Bible, God and Abraham were having a conversation. God was explaining how he needed to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, and Abraham was explaining how he shouldn’t do it.
Do you have a soul? We have to start with what a soul is, which should be easy, it's only four letters, but the thing is, it's not easy, even if it were three letters. We don't have a unilateral definition of the soul. We don't know where the soul "lives" in the body. We don't know if the soul is separate from our earthly experiences. All we have is a hopeful maybe.
A sentence you'll read when you Google "figs and wasps" is in a caption to a photo of a wasp and a fig: "A female fig wasp descends through the ostiole into the center of the fig plant's syconium." This is all clearly a private matter and none of our business but it is my responsibility to tell you that when you eat a fig, you're also eating a wasp. Or at least wasp eggs. Maybe it's wasp larva. The point is, I didn't read much of the article; I'm a headlines kinda guy.
In many ways, The Book of Ruth is a gentle echo of The Book of Job. In Job, we witness a righteous man destroyed for a wager who remains unwavering in his faith right up until he asks, "But why?" The Book of Ruth is also about a life interrupted by Divine Intervention. It's Job with a happier ending, but the same unsettling questions about how we interact with God, and how God can interact with us.
Imagine. You are fleeing your home. You are fleeing your life. Something extraordinarily violent and horrible and utterly destructive is happening to your city where maybe you had friends. Maybe you had a favorite place to watch the sunset while eating figs. Maybe one of your daughters, or cats, or whoever, is left behind.
One of my favorite passages in the entire Bible is Job 42:3: "Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know."
I'm writing in the margin of a book--I'm a scribbler of notes and check marks--and notice that my eyes can't see what I'm writing as clearly as they used to. And I am so grateful for all the years I've had good vision; all the books I've read and thoughts I've pushed into paper.
Roxanne asked about evil. I'll tell you now, at the beginning, to save you time if you thought I was going to be able to answer this question: I don't know how to answer this question. I don't know what to do about evil.
I asked my friends on Facebook if they had any questions regarding the Bible that a very inexperienced Christian might do his best to answer. (To be clear, I am the Very Inexperienced Christian.) My friend John asked -- probably jokingly -- "What about that lady that liked the big horse dongs?" And I decided to call John's bluff. We're going to talk about donkey dongs and horse jizz til the break of dawn.