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talljasperman's avatar

How are the circumstances different when Jesus turned water in to wine and when Satan tempted Jesus to turn rocks into bread?

Asked by talljasperman (17879 points ) June 17th, 2012

You would think that if Jesus wasn’t allowed to do one that he also wouldn’t be able to do the other? Also could Jesus turn water into any kind of wine or just the kind still in the empty jugs… like my grandpa does when he wants to get the last of the milk from the carton for his tea? My grandpa would pour the water into the milk container and pour it back into the teapot.

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zenvelo's avatar

Jesus chose to turn water into wine at the wedding at Cana. It was part of a celebration, not part of a spiritual quest that the fasting in the desert was. And Satan wasn’t tempting Jesus to transform the stones but to break his fast and his spiritual journey.

No one said Jesus was “not allowed” to turn stones into bread, but to do so would abandon his hunger for the word of God.

Nullo's avatar

The water-to-wine story states that Jesus turned the water into better wine than what had been there before. The jars used did not previously contain wine, as their primary function was to hold water for ceremonial washing.
One usually served the best wine first, reasoning that as the alcohol took its toll the guests wouldn’t notice the difference in quality.

@zenvelo makes a good point, to which I will add that for Jesus to transmute stones to bread would be an abuse of His authority, whereas the transmutation of the water at the wedding in Cana was advertising, as it were; John 2:11 (NASB) states, “This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.” Besides, Satan is the ultimate troll, and you don’t ever want to feed a troll.

mattbrowne's avatar

Since you mentioned your grandpa and his milk container, I fear that you are not aware of the metaphorical meaning of turning water into wine or rocks into bread. Jesus was not able to lift a magic wand and create wine just from water.

When someone turns a company’s brand into a goldmine, you won’t find a real goldmine that you could actually drill into. The goldmine stands for something of higher value. The same applies to the wine.

elbanditoroso's avatar

And in the Wizard of Oz, why was it that clicking Dorothy’s heels (or the ruby slippers) causes her to return back to Kansas?

Why is it that Rapunzel’s hair is long enough to reach the ground in Chapter 4, but not in Chapter 8?

Fairy tales are fairy tales, and not subject to rational thought.

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mattbrowne's avatar

@elbanditoroso – There’s a difference between fairy tales and myths and parables. Myths are about the human struggle to deal with the great passages of time and life—birth, death, marriage, the transitions from childhood to adulthood to old age. They meet a need in the psychological or spiritual nature of humans that has absolutely nothing to do with the recollection of historical events. It requires intelligence and a good education to be able to understand the Bible.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@mattbrowne – I disagree. I believe they are one and the same in terms of content. They each tell unbelievable stories.

The difference, to me, is in WHO is doing the telling. In other words, what the purpose is for the story teller. A bible parable is used by clergy (and parents) for a pedagogic purpose. But one could just as easily see the Wizard of Oz story (if a glib preacher chose to make it so) into a parable about the importance of home and family.

It’s all in how it was used and who is embellishing the story for his own purposes.

I completely disagree with your premise. You are concentrating on the WHAT and not the WHO, and any and every story is ALWAYS dependent on the context in which it was told.

jax1311's avatar

@elbanditoroso – I think that you are correct in saying that focusing on who is telling the story is important, but I do not think that the fact that the person telling the story is relevant makes all stories the same in terms of content.

It is true that meaning can be extracted from any story (or fairy tale), but that meaning is often secondary to the main purpose of the story which is entertainment. On the other hand, parables are written specifically to teach a lesson, and any entertainment that may be derived from hearing the parable is secondary to the lesson being taught. And as @mattbrowne stated, myths are typically written to deal with topics that humans struggle to understand and accept.

So, in fact, the contextual issue on which you rely to establish that the stories are the same, is the very thing that makes them different.

Whether the story/parable/etc. is believable is irrelevant. Parables in the bible are often based on farming, construction, and other subjects that are not based on fantasy, but are fictional nonetheless.

sinscriven's avatar

Satan was attempting to challenge God.

Mary asked for a favor that was granted because she’s his mom.

mattbrowne's avatar

@elbanditoroso – It seems that you fail to grasp the meaning of myths. They appear as unbelievable stories, if the reader thinks they are an account of a historical event. So they appear as unbelievable to the less educated reader.

“A fairy tale is a type of short story that typically features folkloric fantasy characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants, mermaids, or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments (Wikipedia).”

Like myths fairy tales also have deeper meanings and they often also revolve around archetypes such as the hero, the martyr, the mentor, or the devil. In a myth the devil (or satan) is sometimes also used an archetype. The same applies to angels. They are mythical beings, not real beings. We need to understand the concept of metaphors such as Jesus walking on water or Jesus talking about people to be salt.

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