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God, the Elephant, & the 6 Blindmen

During this past week, in one of our bible study groups, we saw one of Job’s friends describing God! He was right  (at least to most of us), but yet Job did not agree with him.
Nice enough we know the end of Job, so we knew Job was also right.
It reminded me of the poem “The Blind Men and The Elephant.” The origins seem to be uncertain. Some say it came from the Chinese, others say it came from the Indian…


 A picture of 6 blind men feeling an elephant for the first time and what they are imagining in their minds.

John Godfrey Saxe’s ( 1816-1887) version of the famous Indian legend,

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.
The First approach’d the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”
The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, -“Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!”
The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a snake!”
The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he,
“‘Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!”
The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!”
The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a rope!”
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!
We all often argue about things that we know only a part of!
About God, about life, about knowledge, about other people, about events, etc.
If we put our ideas and opinions together, we may be closer to the goal that we ought to have in common!

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  1. No amount of effort at synergising their individual perception will work ! It will rather drive them into a more erroneous conclusion. All they need is SIGHT ! May God enlighten our eyes of understanding ! We know in parts but the revealed truth is enough to sustain our survival. Sometimes our problem is outright rejection of the TRUTH.

  2. Funny thing we talked about this sane thing in church and we used the same me poem as an example..

  3. This is Chimmamanda Adichie calls “the danger of a singer story”. May God reveal Himself to us, more and more. The Sunday School helps in this area; where several people share their views on a particular Bible passage. The end result is always a clearer picture and a better understanding of what God is trying to tell us.

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