Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Simplicity and Complexity of God's Word

It is relieving to recognize that the basics of God's revelation of himself (including his Creator role) are easily skimmed off the surface (of the Bible), but not surprising that God's Word contains infinite depth and that it should require constant attention to study with all the tools we have available. God is not superficial, and we should expect that knowledge of him and his Word would be mined rather than simply absorbed. This means that all of us will be dependent on others with particular skills to help us succeed in the enterprise of interpretation. This is not elitism; it is the interdependence of the people of God as they work together in community to serve one another with the gifts they have. The Lost World of Genesis - John H. Walton

I love this extract from Dr John's book! It beautifully sums up so many of the things that I appreciate and value in life.

- the simplicity of God's Word. At one level it is Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth

- the complexity of God's Word. There is so much depth and breadth to the Bible and to its true implications for humanity and the way we live life. Not because God tries to be complicated but due to the realities of God speaking to finite people at a particular time and place. This makes God's Word a treasure trove to be explored and interacted with. Not for intellects sake, and not for some spiritual high found in a 'deep truth' moment, but rather because of the divine nature of the text. The reality is that literature thousands of years old still carries weight and meaning for life today; as much as ever before. With the help of the Spirit and with the skills and fellowship of community this is possible.

- that God is not superficial. God desires to know humankind on a deep an intimate level. God speaks and desires to relate with us in the midst of the most complicated and trying experiences. Not with throw away lines and quick fix verses but in a real and personal way. A way that can at times be summed up with simple rhema words but that also often involves deeper rational and faith filled interaction.

- that deeper study or understanding of God's word is not in order to create elitism. The opposite is in fact the case. PhD understanding is not for PhD sake but rather for faithful, trustworthy, applicable, and life changing everyday application. What an awesome challenge that is to all in the academic world.

- that God's word is best approached and interpreted in community. Together we discover truth for life when we come to God's word. This stands in the face of society's individualistic attitudes and tendencies and requires humility, teachablity, openness, conviction, good will, and love. All of which are admirable qualities.

I fall in love with God and God's word more and more every day. I hope you do to.

No comments: