Tuesday, October 7, 2008

This I Know

Last week, I found myself in the same room with an electrical music box that kept playing "Jesus Loves Me" for the whole hour I sat there. And it reminded me again that this song has it exactly backwards. There is no particular reason to credit the Bible unless you already credit its Author, and no convincing reason to believe there is a God Who wouldn't lie unless you have already encountered Him.

If the Bible were the source of doctrine, then we could know that doctrine only emotionally and/or cognitively, not existentially. The Bible bears witness to true doctrine. But for the Christian, the crucified and risen Christ is the Source; more correctly, He Himself is the True Doctrine. ("I am the Way and the Truth and the Life...") To encounter Truth, you have to encounter Him, not just read about Him.

Can you encounter Him in reading the Bible? Sure. But then it's He, and not the Book, that caused you to believe both.


Anonymous said...

That is a really good point. Thanks for sharing!

William Weedon said...

It's bothered me for years. Here's my proposed fix:

Jesus loves me!
This I know
On the Cross
He showed me so.
There for me He bled and died
With His arms held open wide.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

William, paraphrase of St. Paul is inded an improvement. While we were yet sinners...

What you wrote still only addresses the cognitive level, though, not the existential / mystical / spiritual. You allude only to the history. The history is indispensible, of course, but for the Orthodox, at least, it's not the main thing that convinces us.

I think I'll write a post on that...

William Weedon said...

Ah, but the cross is by no means just history. What the cross is for Christians is best shown, I think, in those stunning words from the Akathist of Thanksgiving:

Through the icy link of the ages, I feel the warmth of Your Divine breath; I hear the flow of blood. You are already near; time has partly vanished. I see Your cross; it is for my sake. My spirit is in ashes before the Cross, where there is a triumph of love and salvation, and unceasing praise unto all ages: Alleluia!

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

The Cross is indeed much more than history. But the little verse you provided seems to allude only to the historical fact of the Cross.

William Weedon said...

You know, you're correct. Much stronger to move to the present tense:

Jesus loves me!
This I know.
On the cross
He shows me so
Where for me
He bled and died
With His arms
Held open wide.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Yes, that's yet another improvement, as it implies the Resurrection by speaking in the pesent tense.

Would you go for some such version as this one, which makes explicit reference to the Resurrection?

God so loved us that He gave,
His own Son, the world to save.
Trampling death upon the tree,
Jesus rose, our Life to be.