Friday 30 November 2018

Note added on resurrection and Life Everlasting in the Fourth Gospel

I want people to read the Fourth Gospel for themselves - because the primary meaning is in the Whole Thing, and the teachings it references multiple times in different ways - but I have just added some illustrative quotations from the first six chapters to the original post; demonstrating the kind of thing I mean.


Chiu ChunLing said...

I think that you tend to adopt a binary logic of "true" or "not true" in regards to scripture, which obscures the fact that "truth" is a matter of what you receive from scriptures, not what is actually in them.

There is nothing really in the scriptures but paper and ink. All the truth you are seeking there must be found from another source, the scriptures are merely a marker telling you where you should really look if you wish to behold (more often, they are merely pointing to a conversation you may have had about an experience which may have been connected by analogy with what you are really seeking).

Some markers may be more suitable to your own particular mind or mood, that makes them seem more 'true' to you, but if you think that is something about the scriptures rather than about yourself, you are making a categorical error of the first order.

The Spirit of God is not contained in the scriptures. Nor in the conversations you may have had about your life experiences. Nor in those experiences. Nor in the analogy, whether or not it occurred to you. The Spirit of God is within you, but not contained. It flows through all, both the living and the dead, and it would be better to say that we are contained in it.

But we are not contained either. Anyone, by mere will without other prerequisites for action, can exclude themselves from the Spirit of God.

And some do. Too many. Or at least more than God has willed to do so.

That's the whole point of religion, God exhorts because in this one crucial thing He cannot compel.

Bruce Charlton said...

@CCL - Your point is that there is no such thng as scripture - no special category.

I would say that if God has intervened to presrve and propagate writings, and inspire translation, and assist comprehension - then that is a real scripture.

But (in the Gospels) Jesus does Not seem to have envisaged scriptures, certainly not as a central fact - I suspect that may be very significant.

Chiu ChunLing said...

No, that's not my point at all.

The scriptures contain the word of revealed to His true servants and expressed to the best of their ability. It is a very special category.

But the truth of the scriptures is only discerned (and properly understood) by the Spirit of God, which depends not on the innate virtue of what is written but rather on the virtue in the heart of the recipient.

A sufficiently pure and virtuous reader will feel the witness of the Spirit to the truth (both the honesty and the correct interpretation) of every word of the scriptures. And not so for what is not scripture. Not every word. Hardly any, really.

But it has been about couple of thousand years since anyone that good was living on Earth.

For the rest of us, the charge is not to bring the scriptures into line with our current understanding but to bring our understanding into harmony with the scriptures.

I heed this charge not at all, myself. I see no fundamental point in trying to reconcile my own thoughts to what is recorded in scripture. Where they agree, they agree, where they don't, they don't. But I acknowledge that, where I disagree with the scriptures, I'm the one in the 'wrong', not the scriptures.