Reading this article by Fraser Nelson about his conversation with a SAGE advisor and seeing responses like the one below reminded me of a recent discovery.
Archaeologists in Nineveh came across a stone tablet reporting events following Jonah’s visit to the City. The text says:
One sceptical wise man went out of the city to visit Jonah at his encampment. The wiseman asked Jonah why the judgement hadn’t yet come. Jonah explained to him that in fact, the destruction scenario was only one possibility and was the worst case scenario based on a situation where the Assyrians didn’t repent of their sin. Prophets were generally in the practice of making pronouncements that assumed an understanding of the conditional nature of them. Repentance might lead to compassion and forgiveness but without repentance, judgement was certain.
Upon hearing this information, one advisor to the king of Nineveh announced that he was shocked and distressed by the announcement. Up until now he had been a firm supporter of the sackcloth and ashes policy that the city were following. However, he commented.
“If we had known that God could be compassionate and merciful, then we would have followed a very different policy.”
In other news, a senior member of the King’s household who had been the chief negotiator with Babylon resigned last night.
On a serious note, if there’s something we can learn from SAGE-gate, perhaps it is to remember old proverbs about the risk of making assumptions. I don’t think there has been any conspiracy from scientific advisors to only tell us the worst case scenarios. Rather they seemed to assume that everyone knew that they only modelled and presented the bad scenarios as these were the ones that potentially needed action. However, not everyone did know that.
It is important that we as Christians do not make the same mistake and understand that people can see all the implications of our message. We need to spell out in detail the full message of good news that we have been given.