Ah, Jared's Java. Pleasant taste. Slight Monsterism.

Welcome to the home of my mind, where I brew my intellectual and spiritual joe. Sit back and let me pour you a cup or two. I promise not to cut you off, even after you get the caffeine jitters.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dangerous Contemplations on Freedom

(Click to enlarge)

Great conversation yesterday! You guys rock! Keep it rolling. Just remember, take issue with ideas, not people. There is no need to impugn someone's character because you see things differently. If I posted your comment(s) yesterday, it means you met me at least half way on that. However, I want to reiterate that you should avoid addressing a person with an adjective that is derogatory. It's just fine to say an idea seems foolish, heretical or wrong, but don't call someone that for holding the idea.

Now, on with the show...

Scripture is special. Using language, God has employed the words in Scripture to communicate to us the story of Him. It is God's story for our lives. It is for us to understand Him better by.

I know that it may seem contradictory (please note the use of the word "seem") to some of you, but it is through these questions I have been asking and some of the realization that I have come to that has given me an even deeper passion for God and His Word. Why? Because, all of a sudden I don't have to try to explain away Scriptures that seem contradictory to my theology. There are points in Scripture that seem very much like they contradict (again, note I used the word "seem") one another (how do you think Calvinism and Arminianism came about?), and if we hold to a traditional systematic theology, which most everyone in the evangelical movement does to one degree or another, then we have to try to explain why these other Scriptures don't contradict it.

I now get the privilege and freedom to look at these Scriptures and appreciate them for the place they take in God's story in the context of the book that they were written in.

Some of you who have not had a systematic theology educated into you probably think this is big on the "duh" factor. For someone who's been searching, it is epiphanal. I've known these conflicts since starting Bible college, and I've never been comfortable with them. This frees me from them.

One other thought for the day: What if the entire book of Job is allegorical? I'm not asserting it is, I'm just asking "What if?" What if God inspired a writer through the Holy Spirit to author the book of Job so that it could be placed in God's story to us? There are many other places in the Bible that use all sorts of allegorical language (Psalms, Proverbs, Revelation, the parables, and all over the major and minor prophets). Would it really damage the believability of Scripture if Job was allegorical, especially in light of all of the other allegory that exists in Scripture?

I could give you my answer, but I'll save that for tomorrow. Until then, my fellow sojourners: love God, be passionate for His Word, love one another and live out the gospel.



MugwumpMom said...

Great post! His word is LIFE...my daily bread...it cuts through to heart of me and goes to work, and without it there is a sense that I might wither away and die (at the core that is) That is the mystery of the scriptures - that they heal and reveal, transform and renew, and help us to know and love God.

Enjoy your day.

R said...

Jared, I think you would agree with me that in believing the Bible and reading it takes faith. I am at the point now in my walk or journey where I just choose to believe that the Bible is the whole truth and if something contradicts or does not make sense I have to have faith that it is beyond me. I believe that if something seems like it contradicts it must be both. Jesus died for the world but he died for his elect. He died for both, you would say. I guess so.

Job being allegorical, I have no idea. I think it is completely literal because I have faith that it is. I could be wrong, I guess, but you know, the Bible is not specific on that.

KingJaymz said...

MWM - Awesome, thanks so much for the encouragement.

R - We agree in principle, certainly.

As for Job, I so badly want to say something, but I gotta save it for tomorrow. Good comment, and I'm looking forward to seeing what others have to say, too.

Delia said...

I'm glad you've reached a point where you don't feel the need to explain away the contradictions. Maybe it's because my relationship with God was allowed to develop on it's own time in it's own way, but I've never really been bothered by the contradictions.

And I'm thankful that I haven't been because it seems to me that any worry over the contradictions would somehow detract from the Scriptures themselves.

I can't wait to read your thoughts on Job tomorrow.

uberstrickenfrau said...

Hmmm,Job. I suppose even if it was allgorical it wouldn't make a whit of difference to me, I still believe in Jesus. Its kinda like if the ark slid off of Mount Ararat, I still believe anyway . I think the book of Job gives a very fastnating glimpse into heaven and shows that some times there is no rhyme or reason why bad stuff happens to( warning:can of worms)good people...I am now stepping back to advoid the fall out!!!

KingJaymz said...

Oh no you don't, usf! I'm grabbing your leg and putting it right back in (LOL)!!

Good thoughts on Job, and the Bible doesn't actually say that the ark landed on Mt. Ararat. It said that the ark came to rest in the "mountains of Ararat." So, that's quite a big chunk of land. Some scientists (and I'm not talking the ones of the Creationist variety either, which is what makes that a big deal) have found the structure of what they think is the biblical ark about 10 or 15 miles from the base of Mt. Ararat. That is still very much in "the mountains of Ararat," so why is there so much scandal, speculation and qualms about the structure resting on the slopes of the mountain itself? That is something I've never understood (much like you've stated yourself) why fundamentalists/evangelicals have made such a stink about.

Anne said...

"It is God's story for our lives. It is for us to understand Him better by." Amen to that!

There is so much amazing information in the Old Testament that brings us to a clearer understanding of the New Testament (Hebrews 10:1; Gal. 3:24). I have come to this understanding just in the past year and a half. I always cringed at studying the Old Testament because I couldn't figure out who anyone was, etc. All I could clearly see was that the Israelites would stray; they'd get punished, and then come back. THEN, they'd repeat the cycle over and over.

I strongly believe having a clear understanding of how God dealt with the Israelites with their behavior, how they worshipped, etc. gives us a clearer understanding of who He is and how to understand what He expects from us today through His new covenant – not much has changed as it relates to His expectations.

Over the past year and a half I have begun a chronological study of the Bible from creation to Christ and then how I build my life on God's great Plan. Within this chronological study I go through the Bible 15 times all within a theme such as how God is wise and had a plan before the world began; how God uses light, water, life, bread, families, travelers, choices, our eyes, falls, changes, how God loves good and hates evil, praise, and prophets. I have a long way to go and my kids are doing this with me - I am fascinated at the understanding I have gained so far from this particular study.

I have never had to explain away scripture before. The theology I was raised in didn't show me scripture. I just "felt" things didn't make sense so I left it. Once I began to read the Bible I CLEARLY saw contradictions in what I was raised to believe and what I read in God's Word.

About the book of Job – I’m wondering why you would ask such a question. Just asking the question makes others "question". Sometimes, some things need to remain in our thoughts and worked out through fervent prayer and study. There could be an innocent babe in Christ reading this.

Your Sister

P.S. Even though I consider you a brother, if you ever got locked up I would probably make you stay the night to learn a lesson. :)

KingJaymz said...

Anne - Exactly! Questioning makes others question. That is what I'm going for here. I'm certain that an innocent babe in Christ would benefit from coming to a conclusion on that now, as opposed to feeling like they've believed the unbelievable for 10 or 15 years when they finally get to thinking about it. We need to have real answers to those who ask. Besides, if someone just wants to jump to a conclusion without sticking around to flesh it out, no one can take responsibility for that but them. It tells me they'd be looking for an excuse to not believe. My aim is not to kill anyone's faith, but to increase it by presenting different thoughts than what they generally get told on Sunday mornings at most fundamentalist/evangelical churches. It's time for the disenfranchised to have reasonable cause to keep the faith in spite of their disillusionment with modern, evangelical Christianity.

clumsy ox said...

On Job: I'm confident Job "Really happened", for several reasons:
1. Job, Eliphaz, Zophar, and Bildad are all specifically named and their nationalities are given. Further, we have a good idea at least what those nationalities were for Job (in the land of Uz) and Eliphaz (a Temanite: descendant of Esau).
2. Ezekiel twice mentions Job alongside Daniel and Noah: classed together, if you will.
3. James mentions Job as though he were real.
4. Job's daughters are named at the end of the book.
5. Job's lifespan after the trial (though not his exact age) is given.

Typically, when Scripture tells a story as a parable or allegory, it omits names and personal details. When names are included, then it references real people. And mentioning his daughters' names and his own "age" (actually longevity after the trial) are way too much detail to fit the Scriptural pattern for an allegory or parable.

Elihu is a bit of an enigma, although his name and nationality are given.