Exploring and Understanding the Concept of Abstraction in the Bible

Abstraction in programming refers to providing only the essential information to the outside world and hiding their background details. The bible is filled with abstraction and hidden little details going on in the background and we are left to interpret them to the best of our abilities and with age and wisdom we relearn these hidden truths more and more. When I read my bible I can of course acknowledge an absolute truth to the words but my understanding of these truth is limited by what I was raised to believe and have been taught in church. Abstraction isn’t about me defining what is true, but it is saying that there is something deeper to be understood than just what I know. There are hidden meanings and lessons I can’t see on the surface.

For example, “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The bible makes countless references to trees in the old and new testament. On the surface trees lacks mobility and free will. They don’t have arms and legs and a head, they can’t get up and move when they don’t like where they are planted. This is of course my logical self completely missing the deeper meaning of the tree.

The abstraction is that trees have roots and these roots teach us about regeneration. When we consider roots they are a tangible representation of what is intangible within us. Trees stand by themselves, as seemingly sovereign life forms. If we look beneath the surface we can see that roots form a connection with the water and soil that sustain it. The “tree” is beside the “rivers of water”, seemingly separate from the river, but its roots join the tree to this source of its life, the water. Just like these trees our roots are connected to God to sustain us. But this connection is invisible, intangible, difficult to understand, and easy to deny or simply forget about. We appear to be sovereign life forms, just standing on our own, like a tree. The tree roots are what reminds of that we are utterly dependent on God. God is our river of life and sustains us, without his love we would perish. It seems sometimes this is hard for us to understand and accept on a moment to moment basis, because the appearance of our independence and sovereignty is so strong.

The idea that God is sustaining us every instant can seem beyond us. This is why the Bible’s abstraction of a tree is so appropriate and useful. A tree depends so much on its source of nutrients and water. Similarly in our lives everything depends on our connection with the Lord. It is not something that is apparent to us on the surface. From the outside we only see the leaves and the fruit of a tree not the roots unground working away to sustain the tree. With programming users only see the essential information to get their results to what they have input into our program not all the hidden background details that make the program work.

18 May 2020
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