Monday, November 2, 2009

Loaded Language

I was thinking about Puritans a couple of hours ago, Jonathan Edwards in particular.

I wonder what his home was like. Was it hospitable? Was his family loving? Was there noise?

I know that he invited the dying (from tuberculosis) David Brainerd into his house.

I know he was a prolific writer of philosophy as well as theology. He was a preacher, the icon of a puritan in American minds today.

I know him from what’s written and spoken of him. Yet these do not capture the full essence of his life or character. Certainly he had daily routines, favorite meals, and adventures with his children that we can’t grasp centuries later.
After all, puritan life couldn’t have been as cardboard as some history book summations entail.

Imagine how our world will appear in a history book. War, political scandals, dying newspapers, flummoxed economists, globalism, redefinition of societal roles, etc . But these are not our existence. These are not what we eat for breakfast or to whom we say “hi” on the way to work and school. I am a person with a myriad of experiences and faculties.

I thought these things, and then I was reminded of a lingual critique of the Bible that flowed along the same lines.

“Certainly the Bible cannot contain everything there is to know about God!”
“God is so much bigger than that – you cannot possibly claim such knowledge.”
So I chewed on these questions. Do they present grounds for dismissing biblical truth claims?

I don’t think so. Here’s why:

I agree that the Bible does not present total truth about God, just like a biography of Jonathan Edwards doesn’t present total truth about his life. That being said, an accurate biography will still contain truths about the person in question. The Bible may not reveal everything about God, but it does reveal truths about Him and how we should respond to Him.

The Bible never claims to reveal everything there is to know about God. In fact, some passages indicate the opposite.

First Corinthians 13:12 says, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

The Bible, what Christians call “God’s word,” is a light to our paths here on Earth, guiding us into right relationship with God. The truths presented in the Bible (that God created humankind for His glory, that humans sinned, that God sent a law through Moses to guard them and teach them about God’s glory and their depravity until Christ appeared, that Christ died for the sins of the world, that He rose again and will return to judge the earth and bring his faithful into an eternal kingdom, etc.) help us to know and follow God.

There are other truths about God not contained in the Bible, but that does not mean that the truths about God not contained in the Bible will contradict the truths of God that are contained in the Bible.

God is infinite, and the joy one receives as a consequence of knowing Him deeper will only grow the more we know and experience an eternal God during an eternal stay with Him in heaven. This is a relationship we can begin today, grow in through the Bible, and continue on through eternity by God's free favor.

Rejecting the biblical truths, according to the Bible, will deny us access to this glorious communion. Such that do will know God as judge for an eternity apart from Him, devoid of love.

By accepting and obeying the truths presented in the Bible, we will enjoy the fullness of God that exists in a direct personal relationship with Him as King and Savior and Friend.

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