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Prime Meridian Is a Metaphor for the Bible

The Royal Observatory at Greenwich, England is famous as the location of the prime meridian. It is a remarkable location. People often take pictures of themselves straddling the meridian, each standing with one foot in the Eastern Hemisphere and the other foot in the Western Hemisphere.

However, the prime meridian itself is not physically impressive. In fact, you would not realize it was there at all if it were not for a bold line cut across the pavement. The demarcation is, in fact, of human invention. Prior to the International Meridian Conference of 1884, each local region kept its own time, a system that, if continued, would have rendered impossible our current arrangements for trade and commerce. While the meridian is humanly derived, its relation to the stars is not, and that heavenly correspondence allows us to find our place on the map and in the world.

The prime meridian came about through the work of John Flamsteed, the first Astronomer Royal, who made it his life mission to produce a proper navigational chart of the heavens, mapping the location of thousands of stars. Eventually, based on Flamsteed's work, scientists were able to help people find their position on the planet, allowing them to answer that fundamental question of philosophy and physics: Where am I?

The power of the prime meridian is that it is a fixed position through which our knowledge of time and place can be understood. This is a metaphor for the effect of the Bible in human life. The Scripture is our meridian. It is the fixed position, given by God himself, through which we can understand who we are, where we are, and where we must go from here.

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