Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How You View The Bible

I realize that most "religious" discussion I have with others, especially the ones in which we are disagreeing on some issue, usually come down to one basic, maybe even foundational, issue, and that is how each of us view and understand the Bible.

For instance, in my awesome apologetics class (sarcasm) we are discussing the deity of Jesus and how some 'idiots' (the reading material might as well say that, I AM NOT SAYING THAT) do not think that Jesus is the Son of God... how can the son and the father be the same age (kind of a strange hang up maybe, but valid logic if you ask me, but whatever).

This brought up a discussion within the class about Jesus being God's son. I made the point that the "Son of God" was a title given to Jesus which held significant political weight in the 1st century. A tittle usually given to Caesar.

This didn't seem to sit well with other class mates, for I began to receive many references where Jesus is called the Son of God or God's son (all from the book of John of course)so this was suppose to be proof that Jesus had to literally be God's son.

Because for them, the bible says it, so it is literal as if God and Jesus would go out in the backyard and have a Father and Son game of catch when Jesus was merely a young "Word" of God and before the foundations of the earth.

Something else I wrote that didn't earn me any fans in class was that Jesus has not always been around, he was created, conceived, and born. I didn't think much of the statement, but apparently I shouldn't have said that.

It seems the bible, for many, serves as some sort of history book (or science book which is even worse) which purpose is to portray exactly what happened instead of being full of stories, agendas, and metaphors to convey truth.

What do you think? And if in fact we do view the bible differently, how do we get past our different views? Is it possible to still find common ground?


Mark Patton said...

Great questions. How you view the Bible affects everything ('cus the way we know about Christ comes from the Bible).

By the way, I thought you hated apologetics (this is where cooler people put a "wink in" but I'm to uncool to know how -- remember sweater vest).

By the way #2, if you responded to this any other way than by calling me Mark, then consider yourself unfriended in every way (the "Mr." past a while back)

Would love to get together the next time I am in Statesville.

Matt said...

Intriguing questions that you bring up that many people have and yes, the way in which one views and understands the Bible greatly impacts the understanding on those questions.

Curious to your thoughts on the Trinity? Because based on your view of Jesus being created, conceived, and born, would you deny the second part of the Trinity and also Jesus would fit into the description of all of those who consider Him merely "a good teacher."

Since the account of the fall in Genesis 3:5 there has been a false teaching that we as man can become gods or a part of God. But what we see take place is the opposite by God becoming man, in the second part of the Trinity, making the eternal Son of God become the God-man Jesus Christ.

Martin-Lloyd Jones says it like this, "The doctrine of the incarnation at once tells us that that is not what happened. A person, I repeat, did not come into being there. This person was the eternal Person, the second Person in the Trinity. When a husband and a wife come together and a child is born a new person, a new personality, comes into being. That did not happen in the incarnation."

In regards to finding a common ground amongst different interpretations and view of Scripture I believe we can to a degree. Going based off of George Patterson's Theological Triage, which I will post as a separate comment because this one is already long.

Overall good post, intriguing questions, looking forward to the dialogue.

Matt said...

George Patterson's: 3 Levels of Authority
1st Level-NT Commands (of our Master and the Twelve, such as to love, pray, repent, etc.)
-We obey these commands without argument or voting on them. We do not include OT commands; we are no longer under its law or we'd stone you to death if you gathered firewood on Saturday, etc.

2nd Level-NT Practices (things believers did but that were not commanded, such as using one cup for Communion, baptizing at once, worshipping on Sunday, etc.)
-We may practice them but never prohibit them, because the apostles practiced or approved them. Neither can we command them as general church laws, since only our Master has the authority to lay down laws for His universal body.

3rd Level-Human customs (traditions or practices not mentioned in the NT)
-We cannot demand obedience to them as law. We can-and must-prohibit them if they hinder obedience. Most such traditions are good. They become evil when they hinder obedience.

JustinGaynor said...

There's a lot here my friend...

Questioning the authority of scripture (which means God's authority somehow mysteriously exercised through scripture). The problem is that we want to be under scripture and to validate ourselves that we are under scripture, but we don't read the scripture. Which points beyond itself. The literal/metaphorical debate is a completely false dichotomy tied to our own politics and a waste of time. I think it is a category mistake to affirm the bible as "full of stories, agendas, and metaphors to convey truth" and to deny that something 'literally' happened. Thankfully I do not think you are doing that, but rather pointing out that the authors where much more concerned with the 'truth' in the context of 'why' than we are in the modern world where the 'truth' is desired in the context of 'how'. That is more valuable, productive, most important think. Because then we have control (or so we think - but would never say).

There is a lot that can be gotten at by identifying the title 'Son of God' as the title of the rightful ruler of the world, as opposed to Caesar, or Alexander or whoever. There were serious, literal, political ramifications to that. However, it cannot be reduced to that. To be 'Son of' in Jewish culture means that you are of the same substance. Paul identifies this as doing the things your Father does, being of the same Spirit...namely that of trust and obedience. This is what got Jesus accused of blasphemy, he did and said things that only יהוה was supposed to do and say according to the corrupt leadership. However, GOD called Israel His first born son (Exodus 4v22). The true Israel, the Israel of God will do and say things that are what their Father does and says. Jesus fulfilled His sonship, he was the true Israel.

In this sense, Jesus is literally God's Son. The first born of many brethren, those who would be born 'in' Messiah. The renewed Covenant people. Those whose faithfulness to preserve and heal the world, thereby giving Him glory, vindicating Him who said 'it's all good'...the world which God so loves, we are called to be the glaring proof (the Light of the world) of God's own righteousness (covenant faithfulness). Yet the heathen blaspheme God because of most who take His name in vain. We need repentance amongst those who bear the name 'Christian'. That's how we get past our differing views.

JustinGaynor said...

As regards the question, 'Is Jesus divine?'. Well, what your asking is the question 'Is Jesus, God?' This is a question no one can answer, because it assumes we know GOD. What the Christian faith posits is that if there is a god, he does not look like Caesar. He looks like Jesus (Hebrews 1v3). What the Christian faith says is that if you want to understand GOD, to 'know' GOD then you look at Jesus, who is the human face of GOD. When you ask 'what will it look like when GOD set's the world to rights?' the Christian answer, over against Caesar's power...Alexander's stategy...even the Macabees militant 'faith'...is that it looks like a young jewish rabbi casting out demons, healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind, preaching good news to the poor, forgiving sins and ultimately entering the Holy City, confronting the authorities in the temple, untriumphantly pronouncing judgment and bearing the weight of it all upon himself. He did and said only what only יהוה was to do and say, because He listened to יהוה and was obedient even unto death. Having 'cast down the ruler of that world' His Father vindicated him by being raising him from the dead and then 'coming on the clouds' to His right hand, that the vindication and victory would be implemented in the same way it was won, through His body walking in the Way of Light...His brothers, His friends...His Disciples...we who have been called.

So my question is...what can we learn about GOD by looking at Jesus? And where can we go to do that? The Scripture tells us where...

Jkub said...


First, yes I do remember the sweater vest, however, you pulled that look off nicely.

Second, the "hate apologetics" maybe more of a hyperbole in some ways. I completely get what you are saying... I do love a good discussion. I am more talking about the idea of always defending something... And the imperialistic idea of needing to be supreme. The book i am (having) to read uses language such as attack, strategy, offense, defense, traps, etc...

Third, i would love to get together next time you are in town. Let's set that up.