Re: The Word of God (was Re: On the Flood Narratives)

From: george murphy (
Date: Thu Nov 09 2000 - 09:03:05 EST

  • Next message: glenn morton: "RE: Howard's note"

    "George Andrews Jr." wrote:

    > Hi guys;
    > george murphy wrote:
    > > Howard -
    > > Hope your surgery goes well. The following comments may be
    > > helpful, or at least stimulate some discussion.
    > Howard
    > I add my hopes and prayers for success and speedy recovery.
    > George M. wrote.
    > >
    > > The Word of God is (1) the One through whom the universe was
    > > created and who became incarnate. The Word of God is (2) the
    > > proclamation of Christ. And the Word of God is (3) the Bible which
    > > witnesses to the Word (1) and is the basis for the Word (2).
    > > This does not mean that the Bible is the Word of God only in
    > > a secondary or tertiary sense, nor does it answer questions about the
    > > historical character of biblical narratives. But it does mean that if
    > > the Bible is not functioning as the Word of God if it is being used to
    > > do something other than - in the long run - witness to Christ or support
    > > the proclamation of Christ.
    > > I think that this is germane to the question of how
    > > Christians are to read religious texts of other faiths. It isn't simply
    > > a question of whose book is better but of whether or not those texts in
    > > some way witness to the Christ & might support the proclamation of
    > > Christ. That may sound strange but perhaps that's because we haven't
    > > really explored the question from that angle. In any case, there is
    > > ultimately only one Word of God, as the Barmen Declaration of 1934
    > > said: "Jesus Christ, as he is attested for us in Holy Scripture, is the
    > > one Word of God which we have to hear and which we have to trust and
    > > obey in life and in death."
    > >
    > > Shalom,
    > > George
    > Amen.
    > I think this discussion is the key to resolving many heated debates over
    > biblical details.
    > How do you gentlemen feel about other religious texts witnessing to Christ,
    > however, in an implicit manner; e.g. I find the wisdom in Lau Tzu's Tau de
    > Ching (spelling?) is very close to many of Christ's wisdom teachings. With
    > Howard, I can't help but believe that God has inspired other cultures but
    > has chosen the Jewish nation to reveal in an explicit manner.

            There are close relationships between the wisdom tradition of Israel &
    ideas in surrounding cultures, & by extension similarities with cultures
    farther afield like China. But one distinctive note in the Hebrew tradition is
    the claim that "the fear of the LORD [i.e., YHWH, not simply "God"] is the
    beginning of wisdom" (Ps.111:10 - the same or with variations in Prov.1:7, 9:10
    & 15:33, Job 28:28, Sir.1:14 & 19:20.) I.e., genuine wisdom _begins_ in a
    relationship to the God of Israel.
            & many of the teachings of Jesus are the same as those of other
    prophets, philosophers, &c.
    But to compare them in that way is likely to get us sidetracked. Jesus is not
    simply a teacher of wisdom but is the Incarnation of the Wisdom of God - an
    idea with biblical roots which was used extensively in the early church & has
    had something of a revival today, especially with feminist theologians.
            This may sound as if I'm backtracking from what I said earlier, but
    that's not my intention. Our task as Christians is not to see how we can
    relate Jesus & other religious figures as somehow on the same level, but to
    explore the possibility that in other religious traditions there are
    connections with, or pointers to, Jesus as the unique Word & Wisdom of God. &
    that can't be done with a one-size-fits-all approach. The relationships
    between Islam & Christianity, e.g., differ considerably from those between
    Native American religions & Christianity.
            Like many others, I would like to find theologically responsible ways
    in which we can speak
    with some degree of positiveness about other religious traditions. But we also
    have to be careful of imposing our ideas of what God _should_ have done (e.g.,
    provide some revelation in other religions) on God, and concluding that
    therefore God _has_ done what we want him to do. I Cor.1:18-31 is a salutary
    reminder here.



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