On May 3, 1997, world chess champion Gary Kasparov pitted his strategic brilliance against the IBM supercomputer, Deep Blue. From the outset, Kasparov’s superiority was evident. But is was Move 44 from Deep Blue that changed everything.
The supercomputer made a move that was so remarkably amateur and seemingly suicidal it spooked Kasparov. He could not believe his eyes, attributing Move 44 to “superior intelligence” and assuming Deep Blue had set a complicated trap. Out-thinking himself, Kasparov abandoned his normal winning strategy and proceeded to make a series of unorthodox and disastrous plays that led to the triumph of machine over man. It was only in the aftermath of victory that the IBM programmers revealed Move 44 was due to a bug in Deep Blue’s software.
Tragically, many people make the same error when it comes to interpreting Scripture. Rejecting the plain, clear, simple meaning of the text, they chase after some complex, deeper, mysterious truth buried within. They treat the Bible like a coded message, resorting to all sorts of exotic techniques to unlock its meaning – everything from numerology to allegory to postmodern deconstruction.
The Bible is not an ancient riddle, and biblical exegesis is not a treasure hunt. There is no fundamental Christian doctrine that hasn’t been plainly revealed in Scripture. And yet much of modern scholarship is overrun with people who are so busy excavating deeper meaning that they end up burying the truth right under their noses.
The Bible is not a mystery, nor is it the exclusive domain of scholars and language experts. The Word of God (Jesus Christ) is revealed on almost every page of the Bible and readily accessible to everyone, regardless of their intellectual status or academic acumen.
We should be thankful that God has mercifully chosen to communicate so clearly with fallen humanity; that He isn’t into smokescreens. He says what He means and means what He says and He has given us the Holy Spirit Who inspired the recording of all Scripture and will inspire and interpret its reading also.