No doubt there is plenty of symbolism in scripture and there is hearty debate, perhaps more in current times, regarding what portions are fictional, merely symbolic and written to establish a spiritual and/or moral point.
Was it Samuel Clements who said “I find those things in the Bible that I DO understand trouble me most”? Whomever, I agree.
Today I found myself standing outside for a time just before getting Wendi and our dinner upstairs.
It was a slightly cool day in Chicago, and as night fell the rain which also fell much of the day picked up some. I love rain a lot but getting soaked in it is something else…
So I moved toward the side of our amazing garden, and stood for a few minutes under the lush trellis which the vines and flowers have thickly covered. A few drops of rain would occasionally spray me but mostly just fell all around as I stood with my coffee cup and enjoyed the moment, dry, safe and warm.
I’ve used a phrase continually, that being “biblical sin lists”. In most cases when one or more areas defined as such by the human writers of the Old and New Testaments were “moved of the Holy Ghost” to mention them, definition of what was and was not, is and is not “missing the mark” in terms of God’s view is rather clear. I’d say it’s human, even church-based “sin lists” and not those in the biblical record that give me the most trouble.
It is the matter of -who- gets to define both what is sinful and what is righteous behavior that I think most of us have the greatest practical problem with.
If we revise clear statements with slack interpretation or, I suspect often, a great deal of human bias for or against a position the Bible seems to lay out quite clearly, it is not amazing but rather unsurprising we take one another to task over the meaning and definition of what sin and righteousness -is- with regard to the particular issue.
Do any of us “cherry pick”? I like this and do not like that so this is cool and that is not? Yup. Human preference does not qualify righteousness. God defines or we define. So… not only how we read the Bible (and ALL come with their lenses, bias, their chosen prejudice…) but if God and His Word are not the final authority then it comes down to personal human opinion. Which is likely the way we want it.
We are then, effectively, god.
This sad, even blasphemous mess isn’t about politics, governmental laws, nor even about the law of God as we understand it in the Old Testament.
Do ALL people in each matter always twist, bend and misinterpret scripture this way? No. Do we all make mistakes? Of course. Do any of us always love what the Bible says? No.
Does God have a will? Does He bring us commandments or only promises?
Does anyone truly consider their personal or shared reason against the Bible and it’s annoying, even deeply troubling parts more authoritative than what is clearly written? Put bluntly, is what you or I think equal to or even surpassing the cannon of the Bible?
In such a case you have decided that what is between your ears (or possibly, YOUR interpretation of the scriptures) IS God’s Word.
If Christ is the ultimate trellis, if He alone keeps sin from having dominion over us, it seems it is His right to tell us, and our right to discover, not re-write the cannon. If you argue the Bible is less authoritative for X, Y or Z reason, you are telling me that you are The authority in the particular issue.
Jesus never did anything with Old Testament scripture but that He quoted and affirmed it. He fulfilled the law for us as we cannot do- perfectly.
When John wrote (John’s Gospel chapter One) “the law came via Moses but grace and truth came from Jesus Christ” he was not saying that what Jesus defined as true was somehow erasing the law of Moses and in particular, the moral and ethical core of that law.
Adultery is still adultery, theft is still theft, murder is still murder and so forth.
If you separate Jesus from His Word and the Word He constantly quoted, what do you know about Him? There is some but very little historical record of Christ outside the Bible. This is a problem one cannot simply gloss over.
As for me, the trellis is a good place. I played in the rain plenty before following Jesus and His Word. Grace does not annul our need to believe, repent and in love, obey Him and what He and His Word calls us to.
“The Word of God, both Old and New Testaments, which is the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine and practice” as the churches have often said.
Here I stand.
As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn