Golden Record shot into space and the Bible

It may still be in the collective memory that back in 1977 there was a golden record shot into space. Known as the Voyager Golden Record, it contains sounds and images of life here on Earth. It has words of greetings in all sorts of languages as well as images of an X-rayed hand to a woman at a supermarket (here is a list of the contents of the record).

Do you use a record player or a laser disk to read this thing?

Do you use a record player or a laser disk to read this thing?

This is a beautiful and humbling project taken on by many people and curated by a few people before it was "officially created". There was controversy to be sure of what was included and what was not included. There is only so much space on a record made of gold and only some things just did not make the cut even if they were considered by people to be worthy. And while the prospect of this record being found and played by creatures beyond earth is slim to none, it does not take away from the beauty of the project. 

This project was dedicated to try to express deep truths about life here on Earth. It tried, through image and song and language and poetry, to give a glimpse into what we believe at that moment in time to be "timeless". It tried to express something to future and different generations about what we think will be universal and beautiful and enduring. It was not a perfect project. It has faults. For instance, the fact this whole project is one a gold record exposes the cultural surroundings of the contents. Or the fact this was deeply influenced by Americans contextualizes the contents of the record. This record has its own biases and limitations. And although not exactly the same, this golden record is similar to the Bible.

Located in different times and cultures the scriptures have their own biases and faults. They are human products that try to express the the deep Truths of God through poem, prose and song. Many people contributed to the creation of the canon but it was curated by a smaller number of people. And there are stories and texts that just did not make the cut for one reason or another. The scriptures try to express what it means to be in right relationship with God and neighbor and self and it tries to tell the story of God. It has faults (Methodists do not believe the Bible is infallible) and it has quirks (like when she-bears maul some boys who mock a prophet of God).

For all it's failings it is the best artifact that I know of that can guide one to know God in Christ through the Spirit. (To be clear the Bible is not the Word of God, but the word of God.)

One can imagine that if we were to create another "golden record" tomorrow, we would have similar aspects to the original. However, one could imagine that we would even brand new aspects of what it means to be human on planet Earth. Just because we have a canonized Bible does not mean that we have learned everything there is to know about God, the nature of reality and what it means to live in right relationship.

So as we move into this Pentecost season may we continue to be open to what the Holy Spirit has to remind, show and expose us to about this beautiful loving creator we call God.