Monday, September 05, 2005

Is It True? Part Two...

It’s very difficult for us, in our western minds, to see past what’s right in front of us. If something is left unproven or questionable we throw it out, we’re skeptics. So what do we do? We prove it… we rationalize and explain away everything so much that we don’t stop to see whether or not it even needs proving to be true. It’s comfortable to limit truth value to fact or fiction. Truth is that truth goes much farther than that. The scriptures are absolutely true; I will argue that to the death… but take a while to see that truth does not need us to prove it for it to be true. What if Noah never built an arch? What if Paul was never even in Rome? What if Jonah never was eaten by a whale? Could the stories still be true? It’s scary and painful, even, to ask these questions. It is at least uncomfortable for the western cultured Christian to think this way. It makes no sense to us. We need proof, we need it to fit into our box we call truth.

Shall we try to think outside the box?

I am not; in any way, out to say that the Bible is not "inspired by God." We know the stories are true because they're our stories. It's not that they happened that makes them real it's that they happen. Jonah was true because it was Jesus' story, it’s our story. Jesus was giving a picture, comparison; He did not confirm or deny the historicity of the matter when He compared himself to Jonah. He simply confirms its truth.

Personally I believe Jonah, for example, really did ride in the belly of the whale because it's more comfortable for me to believe it. If I just believe it, historically, then I don't have to stretch my mind as much.

Can you try, in honesty, for a second to see that truth is bigger than fact? Whether or not the stories really happened is worth arguing but in the end they're not just true because they happened, they're true because they happen. We know it's true because we see it, we experience it, and it’s our story.

The Bible amazes me. We should never stop questioning it and reading it because, if we let it, it’ll be different every time. We have to allow it to work on us to knead our hearts and reveal what’s there to us. They are there to inspire us to act. We learn and then act. If we’re ignorant and oblivious to what God cares about then they’re empty. Gods call is to bring Heaven here. It is to free the slaves, heal the sick, and empower the oppressed, lift up the weary. If our studies lead us to anything less than those (in whatever form we must do it in) then they are worthless, I don’t think God even likes them, He hates them. The scriptures are drenched in God, inspired by God yet we end up serving them instead of God. If we over concern ourselves with proving and defending the history of the bible then we neglect the meaning, the truth.

Doubt it, question it. Sure, prove it, discourse its content… but see that it’s big, bigger than the box. Blow up the box and see. We know Jesus is alive not just because His resurrection happened but because it’s happens and Jesus is alive… in us.

10 comments:

Maryellen said...

huuum, truth is bigger than fact?
trying to explain fiction and non-fiction to my students, I often get into the matter of how a story can be fiction but contain truths worth learning. for them, a thing is either true or not true. this is really interesting when you are dealing with young people who believe that "skin walkers" (the Navajo equivilant of were-wolves) are real. I guess I need to let the Bible explain the Bible - All Scripture is inspired by God...
I guess that leaves room for your truth vs fact arguement. I don't remember Jesus saying, Hey, you guys this really REALLY happened. Yet He did say, that if we don't believe what Moses wrote, then how can we believe in Him? This whole question brings us back to the methaphorical Jesus, methaphorical blood, methaphorical gospel...
no - I think what seperates Christianity from other religions is that the Bible, except in places when within its text it claims to be a parable, that the Bible is Factual as well as True.
The Truth is a person, that really existed...and all that we know about Him, virgin birth, miracles, teachings, death and ressurection, all that is factual...or else, none of it is true.

Carolyn said...

wes, that is an inspired post. i love your way of thinking. it's amazing to see in your profile how young you are. you have wisdom and discernment so far above your age, it is obviously that of the Saviour!

truth is bigger than fact. as a psychotherapist, i am well aware of that. i often tell my clients that there are three sides to every story: your side, my side, the truth.

we all filter what we see and do through our own perception. we can be convinced to the death that something is true, only to be found that we were wrong all along.

i'm so thankful that the Bible has proven itself over thousands of years to be trustworthy and true. that is the only truth we can depend on.

bobbiehelland said...

There is danger in saying that the stories are true because they happen. If the story of Jonah is true because he is an archetype of Jesus, then you can logically say that Jesus is also an archetype. He is a saviour figure, a metaphor for redemption. Many other religions have an incarnate god who comes to save them. What makes Jesus' story true? What makes Him the truth? Where do you color the words white when you allow for so much gray? What, then, do you take as truth from the Bible? When Jesus says 'believe in Me and have everlasting life' is He saying believe in what I stand for? Believe in the type of person I am? The folks at the Institute for Creation Research go to a lot of trouble to prove the authenticity of Biblical places and stories. The evidence for their truth is overwhelming, as I'm sure the other blogs cover. They must be considered as more than just message stories, written down for us to learn something. The reason you can hang your hat on them is that God stands behind their accuracy. I plan to swing out into eternity on that.

WES ELLIS said...

Bobbie

Good questions, Bobbie. answer: I have no idea. I'm simply saying that if you told me that things in the Bible didn't happen that's ok with me. Why? because Jesus, real or not, saves. He saved then and He saves now. There is a difference between reading the Bible for information and reading it for formation. I just find it more central to its truth to read it for formation. This life is not about intelectual information it's about believing, being changed and formed and healed. The great people at ICR are doing wonderful work for the Kingdom. Please don't think I'm a heathen Bobbie... I love Jesus and I believe He lived and died and rose again. Gray areas don't exsist but they're sometimes all we can know. There is always truth and untruth but sometimes only God knows the black and white. If we don't allow gray then we not being very honest. Thanks Bobbbie, i'd rather lose my soul than lose your respect (well maybe not so far as that but... you get it)

-Wes

Ashley said...

I think that this is such a beautiful concept that you so beautifully worded. This is something I have always thought so deeply about, but was always afraid to ask, I am sure you know what I mean coming from where I came from. I am so glad that we have the freedom to voice these thoughts!

Pastor Art said...

Wes

This very understanding opens up the aspect of our mission of going and telling ie making disciples. There is little doubt that one who believes should not esteem Scriptures less then provable history where its events are spoken of in that context. That said the other hand is that truth is bigger then the “facts” .

What is the need for us to understand this?

Read any religious material within it one will find the “Golden Rule”. Because it is understood and taught within spiritual teachings that are not “Christian” does this take away the fact that this understanding is “true”? The resurrection concept appears in many myth cycles of the world’s religions even within the Occultic ones - what do you think Zombies are but the dead resurrected. Because faith systems are formed around the “INCOMPLETED” understandings of truth we should reject that truth. This is what is meant by truth is bigger then fact!

I say this with great respect for missionaries some of my best friends are missionaries!!! However because like Jonah - who I call the bigot Prophet - we who understand Yahweh’s complete revelation concerning our restoration unto Him must come to understand that Yahweh formed whoever we consider the most detestable - Ninavites of our day. And like them the truth within what has been revealed to them in its incompleteness must become our starting point to move from “the truth bigger and beyond fact” to complete truth based on and connected to fact. This is the task of those who are to make disciples - I think that means everybody!! Jonah the bigot I ahh mean the Prophet is he your hero? Or like Paul in Athens do we look for the truth bigger then fact placed in the cultures and minds and religions of this earth? I speak this weeping the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere are unchanged by the Gospel because the people of Europe refused or were unable to understand that truth is bigger then fact. This opened up the way for manifest destiny type religion negating truth within the understanding of the peoples of this land. Instead of hearing the truth already known and building from there the Jonah’s of European decent imposed truth clothed in facts striping the knowledge and wisdom of the people of the land, dressing them in the cloths of unfamiluarity like Sauls armor on David disregarding what was already known bring harm not Shalom!!
Pastor Art

Danny said...

What is truth?

Tony Myles said...

This God is absolutely amazing. I highly recommend picking up anything He had a hand in writing.

Teresa said...

Amen Brother! Something that I am just touching on in my studying about Hebrew and the Old Testament talks about how the Jewish people told stories. I'll touch on it sometime--it makes things make more sense to me.

bobbiehelland said...

nah, you're a heathen.