The Bible Is Clear, We Are Not
Friday of Advent 2
9 December 2016
The Bible is perfectly clear. If there is a problem with its clarity it is not in itself, but in us. We are ignorant of the meaning of its contents for a number of reasons. First, we may not understand the cultural context in which the meaning of the Bible is situated. So for example, when we understand that the man expelled from the wedding party in Matthew 22 has purposefully rejected the gift of free clothing offered him at the door of the banquet hall, we no longer question the mercy of the King, but marvel at His mercy instead. Second, and by far the greatest obstacles in the Bible are those things that do not square with the limitations of our own human minds. For example, we struggle with those statements of the Bible that appear to contradict the plain facts of physics. How can the subsisting individuals of Father and Son be in one another?
 
Yet many so-called theologians are quick to point out the egregious errors in Holy Scripture, such as the impossibilities of the holy Trinity. This is like criticizing the physical theories of Albert Einstein using the Newtonian world view. This is relative ignorance criticizing the deep understanding of physical relativity. We will only express correctly the divine existence when we allow God to reveal Himself to us in Scripture. Then we would think about God conforming our minds to His self-revelation. Only as we bend to His self-revelation through the work of the Holy Spirit will we begin to know God as He desires to be known by us. 

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Hilary of Poitiers
 
"The words of the Lord, 'I am in the Father and the Father is in me' (Jn 14:11), confuse many minds, and not unnaturally, for the powers of human reason cannot provide them with any intelligible meaning. It seems impossible that one object should be both within and outside another, or that (since it is laid down that the Beings of whom we are treating, though they do not dwell apart, retain their separate existence and condition) these Beings can reciprocally contain one another, so that one should permanently contain, and also be permanently contained by, the other, whom yet He contains. This is a problem that the wit of man will never solve, nor will human research ever find an analogy for this condition of divine existence. But what man cannot understand, God can be. I do not mean to say that the fact that this is an assertion made by God renders it at once intelligible to us. We must think for ourselves, and come to know the meaning of the words, 'I am in the Father and the Father is in me: 'but this will depend upon our success in gasping the truth that reasoning based upon divine truths can establish its conclusions, even though they seem to contradict the laws of the universe.
                                                       
"In order to solve as easily as possible this most difficult problem, we must first master the knowledge which the divine Scriptures give of Father and of Son, that so we may speak with more precision, as dealing with familiar and accustomed matters. The eternity of the Father, as we concluded after full discussion in the last Book [Book 2], transcends space, and time, and appearance, and all the forms of human thought. He is without and within all things, He contains all and can be contained by none, is incapable of change by increase or diminution, invisible, incomprehensible, full, perfect, eternal, not deriving anything that He has from another, but, if anything is derived from Him, still complete and self-sufficing."

Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 3.1-2
John 14:8-14

Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
 
"Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it." (ESV)
Prayer
O Holy Spirit, destroy my critical and prideful spirit, that I might ever confess the truth of the holy Trinity according to Your self-revelation. Amen.
 
For Marcia Bell, who is now receiving hospice care, that the Lord of life would be with her as she approaches eternity
 
For all those who mourn the loss of loved ones, especially the family of Margaret Conn, that they might grieve as those who have hope in the resurrection of the flesh and the life of the world to come
 
For Lutheran North High of Houston, that God the Lord would support the work of teaching future leaders in church and society
Art: VASARI, Giorgio Annunciation (1564-67)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2016
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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