Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
The (relatively) new term on the block, so to speak, from the world of computer technology, is “blockchain”. From Fortune.com, here is a simplified explanation: “This coding breakthrough—which consists of concatenated [linked] blocks of transactions—allows competitors to share a digital ledger across a network of computers without need for a central authority. No single party has the power to tamper with the records: the math keeps everyone honest.”
The technology is used famously, just now, in digital currency such as bitcoin. Of course, as with all technological advances, there are things to work out. And a few controversies.
What intrigues me about this bit of high-tech, however, is the “linked” aspect whereby “Each block typically contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp and transaction data. By design, a blockchain is inherently resistant to modification of the data” (Wiki).
In short, a little artifact of the user is present in each transaction, you might put it. One tekkie described this as a verifying “fingerprint” encrypted in each link. I would add another analogy, this, from the world of forensics: wherever we go, we leave a bit of our DNA, only our DNA in a blockchain is digital.
At any rate, “we” can be verified, i.e., our activities along a given chain of transactions, and no matter what period of time is involved and how “long” the chain is, the real user–you or me–can be validated.
Cuts waaaaaaay down on identity theft, for one thing.
So this concept has piqued my metaphor minder. I think there is a spiritual app.
“God’s Blockchain”? And Getting to #Truth
I have often heard it said by Bible scholars that if one had only a single page of Scripture, Old or New Testament, this or that version, small or large print, one could find at least one marker of God’s redemption plan there. A bit of His DNA, you might say, imprinted on each page of the narratives, poetry, and teachings. His cryptographic hash validation of the entirety, so to speak.
Of course this requires a serious–and lifelong–study of the text, as with any other field of education.
But for beginners, intermediates–or anybody searching for comprehension–there is an immediate way to discern.
From my lit teacher’s perch I encourage the seeker to read whatever scrap of Scripture one comes across in its unique context. Read it as a “link” to the rest of the text within which it is embedded.
In a previous post, I discussed how plucking a fragment of a Scripture and tweaking it for one’s own use can lead one into dangerous territory. But by reading the words in their context, especially by accessing the original languages (the Interlinear Bible is a great tool for this) important nuance is noted. As Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) once said, “The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter–it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
I am also reminded of the following Scripture (cited from the Interlinear text):
For three there are bearing testimony in heaven the Father the Word and the Holy Spirit and these three one are” (1 John 5:7).
In this reminder, I view another validating concept when we are bombarded with this or that false christ, heretic, religious system, or what have you trying to veer us off course of truth, or just presenting confusion. It is this: Which “Jesus” is being presented? Does this “Jesus” match the same as revealed in the rest of the Scriptures? Is this “Jesus” the One validated by God, that day, at Jesus’ baptism by John: “And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him” (Mark 9:7, ESV)? A little later at that same event, it is also recorded, “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him” (Matthew 3:16).*
Or is it some other?
This is a good research question with which to start.
No, it is the question.
Particularly if these are, indeed, those days where “At that time many will fall away and will betray and hate one another, and many false prophets will arise and mislead many. Because of the multiplication of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.…” (Matthew 24:10-11, BSB).
Which reminds me of the strongest “#Truth validation” of all, aka the greatest commandment of all: love.
Of course, some find controversy in this concept, too.
But once a researcher starts following the verification path, nuance is revealed, artifacts of God’s love are deciphered, and a brand new (spiritual) blockchain of events can begin.
For the curious researcher, here is a good place to start: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 Interlinear version).
See what you might discover embedded there.
*In this event, the Triune nature of God is revealed, i.e., Jesus (as God’s Son as well as the Son of Man in the flesh), (the voice of) God, and the Holy Spirit (in dove form, a symbol used elsewhere in the Bible) and validates the concept that starts in Genesis chapter 1 and continues in numerous other chapters and verses.