“The Kingdom of God is within you.”
Commentators on these words of Jesus in Luke 17:21 are almost unanimous in expressing their disbelief that Jesus intended the literal meaning of his words “within you” to apply to the small group of Pharisees to whom he was speaking. But since when did a commentator’s incredulity alone constitute adequate exegesis? It sounds to me more like they are refusing to hear what Jesus is saying. And as I reported in an earlier post, variant translations for this particular Greek phrase which render the English as ‘in your midst’ or ‘among you’ are not found in any other Biblical text whatsoever. By contrast, “within you, in your hearts” has the authority of Ps. 38:4, 108:22, 103:1, Isa 16:11, Dan 10:16, Ecclus. 19:23.
Yesterday I commented on a post by a Christian blogger who was trying to mount an argument against the literal meaning of this text from Luke. I’ve seen this kind of attack before on Luke 17:21, and it happens to be a matter of prime importance to me, so I’m taking a stand for its literal meaning.
But what makes it so hard for my fellow Christians to accept a teaching of Jesus which extends the blessings of God’s presence even to his enemies? Are they really listening to Jesus? And anyway, which of Jesus’ so-called friends has completely escaped temptation and rebellion? If we find that the spirit of God dwells with patient love in all such men and women, even in the face of their misunderstanding and antipathy, it is not impossible, I think, to have faith that this patient spirit also waits within all mankind.
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Posted in Revelation and History, tagged beauty, Eternity, Goodness, Ideals, Incarnation, Jesus, mathematics, philosophy, Prophecy, revelation, theology, theoretical physics, Truth on July 12, 2010 |
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“The human capacity to enter into the eternal, in a limited degree, is what characterizes our religious life and our participation in spiritual reality. It is the sin qua non of theological insight and conceptualization. …However, the very necessity for interpenetration of divine and human minds places an unavoidable limitation upon revelation in the classical sense, precisely because of the limited capacity of the human mind to transcend its temporal conditions.” – G. D. Yarnold, The Moving Image, 1966, pp. 201-2
Time and eternity have been my chief objects of philosophical concern recently, a spin-off from recent reading of Kant and Plato on the subjects. On that same line of thinking I watched the Stephen Hawking documentary film “History of Time” last night
But does anybody else think it seemed a very arbitrary thing when Dr. Hawking rejected his early view that time must have a beginning? Too easily, I think, he retreats from the necessity of postulating an origin of time in what is clearly an expanding universe. What will a theoretical physicist not do to prevent the embarrassing impotency of mathematics at singularity? Plato might have told him that mathematical truth is not nullified simply because it cannot generate a universe out of a theoretical singularity. It is eternally true that 2+2=4, for example, even if the poor scientist can only use this truth to unpack motions prevailing after the beginning of time. And there are still greater truths, which also show their independence of time.
“The prophetic figures of the OT provide the most notable instances of the human mind being drawn into an understanding of things divine. … What is vitally important from the point of view of revelation, however, is the bridging of the gap between the eternal and the temporal by the entering into history of One who, while being fully human, comes to the rescue of the limited human capacity for transcending temporality.” – Yarnold, p.202-3
“At three crises of the national and religious life three voices came to guide it. Before Samaria fell in 722BC, Hosea came to gather up the life of the past and preserve what was of eternal remembrance in the thought and deed of Israel. Before the collapse of Judah in 586BC, Jeremiah handed on to a people now without a state the truths by which their souls might still live. Finally, before the Temple disappeared in 70AD, a greater than both conserved for the world through his living church the enduring things which could not die.” – Adam C. Welch, “Jeremiah,” The Abingdon Bible Commentary, 1928, p.677.
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