Friday, September 15, 2006

Resting in the Victory of God

God, we know that you are the source of all things and therefore all things are good. You are the light that overcomes the darkness therefore all darkness must indeed come to an end. You are the unfailing hope of all Nations and therefore all nations will return to You. You were vindicated on the first day of the week therefore on this day You are victorious. But how, oh Lord?

Though we do not understand your victory and it seems untrue at times we choose to embrace it. We choose to live in and as new creation finding good in all things, taking in the new breath of life; the Holy Spirit, and celebrating the present Kingdom of God. We find rest in you not so we might be revitalized in order to continue working but we rest in the work that has already been finished. Mysterious as it may be; Yours is the victory and the reward of that victory belongs in every corner of the earth. We will follow You in taking it there. Amen.

7 comments:

Mike Exum said...

Wes,

I hate to be so off subject, but I'd like to know your thoughts.

I am reading John's Gospel, or trying to. I keep intending to read it all the way, but then I spend sooooo much time in chap's 1-4 that I quit and try again later only to get bogged down in rich discovery again....

A while back I penciled in the header of the first page "Gospel of New Creation". I did this because unlike the other gospels, John starts with the words "in the begining" and a number of other little things along the way such as Wright has pointed out, at the resurrection scene, Mary sees Jesus and fails to recognize him, thinking he is the gardener. Of course! The New Adam who tends the garden of New Creation...

Anyway, that just sets the stage...

My questions are as follows:

The miracle at Cana -water to wine- sounds to me like Jesus has the spirit, because the parallel to Genesis is the spirit hovering over the face of the waters in Gen 1:2. Jesus brings new creation out of the water... Plus, wine is better than water. It is a richer substance. Intoxicating etc... (Makes me wonder if in the age to come the oceans might be wine?;-)

Anyway, do you read it that way? Or another? I wonder if your prof would have an opinion.

Also, in Ch 3 with Nico, Jesus says "unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God". Sounds like new creation again as paralleled with Gen 1:2 again. As if this is a symbolic way of saying you must be a new creation to be in the rule of God.

What do you think? Do you have some thoughts on it or is this a blind side? Think on it, ask a prof, or some friends etc... and feedback to me.

I am only just now seeing the possibilities here. I am not making conclusions, just raising questions. Wondering if this is a good approach and how it should be refined.

Thanks.

Many blessings...

WES ELLIS said...

Mike,

It's quite a complement for you to ask me any question. You’re much farther along on this journey than I am. I am quite humbled. But am excited you asked.

You have brought to my attention something I am now extremely excited about. Have you ever heard of the Greek god Dionysus? he was the god of agriculture, the fertility of nature, and especially wine. He was worshiped heavily in Asia Minor (which is of course the region to which John was writing). A special power this god had and used to demonstrate his power of renewal and intoxication was his amazing ability to... get this... change water into wine. He was the one who showed people how to make wine. A couple facinating and possibly useful facts about him are that he gave Midas his power to change things into gold and he also experienced a second birth. Do with that what you will but to me it sure sounds like a hint that this water into wine business might have something to do with new creation. Here is John paralleling Jesus' miracle with the miracle of one of the gods of Asia Minor (as he did with at least two other miracles). And it is the god of renewal and of gardening. What's important about gardening? "God planted a garden in Eden" Gen.2:8... Mary thought Jesus was the Gardener, John 20. I think your on to something here Mike. I wish I'd have thought of it first (just kidding).

As for the second question. "you must be a new creation to be in the rule of God." There might be more to the reference to water that needs to be examined but as for the Spirit I always read it as having to do with New Creation. It's the new breath of life. I wouldn't be so quick to equate water with Spirit only because the water may carry another component. There's a reason he said "water and the spirit." Remember where it says "A river flowed from the land of Eden, watering the garden" Gen. 2:10. I don't want to make to huge a leap but this might be a what that is referring to.

Maybe it's saying you need to be born of the water of Eden; the stuff that keeps it going the way it does. I make this leap in logic only because of the reference to the breath of Eden. So you need to be born of the water of Eden and the breath of Eden; the stuff that makes Eden what it is and the stuff that makes you who you are. Do you see two components there?

I’ll keep thinking on this question, it seems we’re thinking in similar terms and in same direction. I’ll ask some really smart people and see what they have to say. Heck, I think I’m interested enough to go check out a few books on Dionysus and see what I can see. Check me on all of this, I know you will, because I don’t have any sources. My info comes from memory.

Shalom,
Wes

Mike Exum said...

Thanks for responding.

No, I dont no Dionysus. That is interesting. How are you connecting him/her? to new Creation? I dont follow. But you are right to point out the points of contact. There are enough there to take a theory of rivaling Dio very seriously.

As for water and the spirit. I am bouncing that thought off of Gen 1:2 where the Spirit broods over the face of the waters, hovers over the dark deeps etc... I note that all of creation happens after that. The spirit brooding over the face of waters is the catalyst for all of the created order that comes out of this dark wet formless void.

Thus, a reference to it by Jesus to Nic, may carry weight from Gen to John 3. It is the beginings of a hypothesis. But I do not know. I am not a John guy. Way out of my element. And I have not located a commentary that examines these links in this or a similar way.

I appreciate your attention. ...and don't flatter me too much. You and I are at the same level in this. I am not advanced beyond you at all.

Many blessings...

WES ELLIS said...

Mike,

My connection is that Dionysus is the Greek god of agriculture. To demonstrate his power of renewal (renewal of nature) he turns water into wine. John is pointing out to his readers first of all that Jesus is really the one with the power and especially that Jesus is renewing "nature" or creation. This is also one of John's relatively frequest garden references in that Dionysus is a gardener (or at least a metaphorical gardener). I believe John's readers would have made this connection. Jesus is the new gardener of the new creation. He's the true God of the fertility of nature.

Does that clarify?

the Genesis 1:2 referrence makes sense but I'm sorry I can't add to it. I don't see any obvious connections within the text besides that there is water.

I hope this is helping.

Mike Exum said...

Okay,

I see what you mean now. Thanks.
Who or where is your source for Dio? I would like to follow up...

Also, as for water...

It is not just water... It is Jesus first "sign" of seven, like seven days of creation. I am not sure that each sign is meant to be a tit for tat parallel, but by pointing out that one and two are one and two while leaving the others to be figured out seems to suggest that the link I am suggesting may have that 'first day' kind of significance too. If that is right, it demonstrates that Jesus has the same Spirit as is found "in the begining" (Gen 1:1 & Jn 1:1) where on the first day the spirit acted on the water and new things began to happen.

Sounds thin to me too, but then I am looking for more evidence to support it. The Dio thing has more points of contact to be sure, and may well point to new Creation as well, as you are suggesting. So, like putting a puzzle together, I will take the pieces and try them this way and that, set one aside and try another this way and that until I find a fit.

John overall seems to be stressing New Creation is some profound and overt ways that the other gospels do not. I figure that should be enough to put my nose on the scent as I follow these leads. Intuition plays a role here. However, I am the kind that likes to see intuition backed up with some solid arguable results before I am willing to gell with it.

Meanwhile, my thought advances like this: since we have a book on New Creation (fairly well established) and there are seven signs roughly coinciding with seven days of creation (partly est) then the fact that the first sign is to turn water into something else seems a reasonable scent on the wind to pursue....

It may yet prove to be a blind alley. But it holds some real promise in my view. Thanks for your continued consideration. Think on it a bit and if it begins gelling or if it gets stumped, tell me what you are finding...

Many blessings....

Mike Exum said...

PS.

I will note that Jesus death and resurrection are the seventh sign. A new man. A new Adam. The gardener.

That would coincide with the sixth day of old creation, not the seventh. And thus I do not see a tit for tat parallel, but on the same token, the point of New Creation is discontinuity with the old as well as continuity. The trick is in seeing which things are the same and which change.

That's all for now....

WES ELLIS said...

I definately see where you're coming from now. I think it makes sence and is worth questing into.

I'll think on it, ask some questions and get back to you.

Shalom,
Wes