Posted by: HAT | October 4, 2007

Revelation in Scripture

Contemplating a collection of pictures I have posted on the bulletin board in my office, all because at one time or another they reminded me of God – because they captured some dimension, like caring, or exuberance, or listening, or compassion, or . . . – I thought this:  it’s as if in all these images, these human faces, and really, across all human faces, the spirit of God sometimes illuminates something striking, reveals something, like the way sunshine moves through water on a cloudy day, sometimes making one spot bright, sometimes another, always there but always on the move.  So that the images themselves have had, and maybe still have, the capacity to reveal the divine, when the divine is present, but they are not the divine itself.  So, why it would be wrong to fix on a single image, or even collection of images, as representing the divine, since the divine is neither static, nor limited to the finitude of that image. 

Then I thought that this sounds very similar to what Karl Barth said about Scripture in Church Dogmatics v. ??? that I read years ago, in saying that Scripture is that collection of works in which the Church has heard the Word of God – not to say that the words themselves, the physical document or the record of particular human words itself is the Word of God, but rather, it has been, and perhaps could still be, momentarily adequate to that Word, when the Holy Spirit bears witness to it . . . 

Which might mean – thinking out loud – that different portions of Scripture are bright and revelatory at different times, that we might even find parts we had abandoned long ago as irrelevant suddenly relevant again, or parts we think are just crucial now we lay aside later.  But (pretending to be Barth again), this idea would never mean we could just say, “oh, that old thing . . .”, we would always have to ask ourselves, “is this the Word of God?” 

Still – I think this idea has the potential to be a conjunction of liberation and faithfulness, which I find very hopeful.


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