Cana and apparent age

Bill Hamilton (
Thu, 30 Apr 1998 14:35:08 -0400

Paul Arveson wrote

>3. We have positive evidence for the rapid creation of old wine in Cana.
>Likewise we have positive evidence for the long age of the universe, as
>Morton and others have cited. It is arbitrary to reject this positive
>evidence in one case and not the other. The massive amount of evidence
>demands a verdict.

I wrote

>Alternatively we have positive evidence for the rapid creation of wine that
>was not old, but could not be distinguished from old wine by the people
>present at the wedding. We achieve certain desirable qualities in wine by
>aging. That doesn't mean those qualities cannot be achieved without aging.
> If Jesus used a means of making wine that was available to Him but not to
>us, then you could argue that there was not an appearance of age -- except
>in the perceptions of those who assume wine can be made only by aging.

Tom Pearson wrote

>Here's one reason why the analogy between the miracle at Cana and
>the age of the universe winds up failing.
> Wine is, by definition, a beverage which is aged. Wine doesn't
>simply have the "appearance" of age; it is necessarily aged. If it were not
>aged, it would not be wine. In this sense, to say "This wine is aged," is
>to utter a tautology.

Tom raises a really good point here: are we to apply the strict definition
of wine when we read "wine" in the Cana account? Or are we allowed some
license in the interpretation? Some Protestant churches which use grape
juice instead of wine nevertheless tend to call the contents of the cup
"wine". Furthermore, what do we know about winemaking practices and
terminology in Jesus' time? (I'm not saying no one knows, but I don't)
Perhaps grape juice that had not yet completed the fermentation process was
loosely referred to as "wine". My point (in other posts on the subject as
well as this one) is that we don't know enough to be too persnickety in our
Bill Hamilton, Staff Research Engineer
Chassis and Vehicle Systems, GM R&D Center
Warren, MI / (home)