Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Bible in 4D

Jesus was a man of his time and place and yet timeless. He treated the scriptures like the jew he was and also like someone seeing a bigger picture, another dimension.

My problem is that the main ways of seeing the bible that I run into are one-dimensional (either it's "the word of God, inerrant and conclusive" or it's a "culturally bound document to be picked over, vulture style"). Seems like there has to be another way to relate to these writings.

I wonder if it might involve experiencing and living in another dimension, one that is outside of time (this "Kingdom of God" scholars across the board agree is the core of Jesus' message).

This might mean that while there is a pattern and order to these Kingdom-dwellers' relationship with the scriptures it will probably seem weird and even random to people dealing with it in 2D because 3D reality cuts in and out of 2D at odd places. Something that exists on a plane (2 dimensions) relates to a line (1 dimension) in a similar way -- it jumps in and out of the line at odd places, not moving from beginning to end linearly. This seems like a good description to me of how Jesus interacted with the scriptures -- honoring and reverencing them but using them and interpreting them in odd, unexpected and nonlinear ways.

I've recently done a bit of reading about the cultural context Jesus lived in which made sense of some of the strangeness of Jesus' actions, words and relationship to the Hebrew texts. This has been enriching and hasn't minimized the power or beauty of his message for me, actually the opposite. However, it's possible that if I just knew more I would find out that Jesus' relationship to the Torah was completely linear and culturally acceptable, and that this "kingdom" was a well-understood concept not a mind and life-altering other dimension he invited people into.

But then again, I might just find what I was looking for, so I'm thinking hard about what that is, hopefully in 4d.

1 comment:

brett tilford said...

Good thoughts Jonathan. Who have you been reading that talked about Jesus' cultural context?