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  1. #11
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    And with that, you have the Mind of Christ(Resh) , with the Righteousness(Tzaddi).

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by kathryn View Post
    And with that, you have the Mind of Christ(Resh) , with the Righteousness(Tzaddi).
    Yes, at this level of interpretation I have no trouble at all understanding why God designed His Word this way. But this still leaves the question of "What did Jesus really say?" unanswered.
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
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  3. #13
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    I'm not sure what you mean here Richard..."at this level"? Surely the intellect must get in the way of the Spirit at times? We know that the Word of God is true...and therefore He had to say both. Thankfully, your work on gematria, has given us a greater ability to see the Fulness of His meaning.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    Hi Abigail!



    It's been a long time, good to hear from you! How have you been?
    I drop in a lot though don't always log in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ram
    Thanks for your explanation. It makes perfect sense in as far as it goes - indeed, a person should exhibit both mercy and justice, and in the fullness of Scripture we find Christ teaching both. But I still do not know what Jesus actually said on that one occasion. When you suggest that Matthew and Luke "placed emphasis at different points" it sounds like you are suggesting that Jesus really said both "be perfect" and "be kind" in the same sentence, something like this:
    Be ye therefore perfect and merciful, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect and merciful.
    So now we find ourselves forced to attempt a speculative reconstruction of what Jesus really said - and when we do this the first thing we admit is that we don't really know what Jesus really said. This problem is greatly exacerbated when we try to extend it to other parallel passages. The attempted reconstructions quickly become unbelievable. The Gospels often differ in the specific words and when similar words are used they are often presented in different orders and the records of the same events are presented in different orders too. Therefore, if we know anything, we know that we do not have a literal historical record of what Jesus actually said and did. Furthermore, we know that this is a divine fact that the Author of Scripture intended for us to understand and accept since He presented it so plainly in His Holy Scripture.

    Folks have struggled for centuries to "resolve" the "apparent" contradictions in Scripture so they could assert that the Bible is a literal historical record of the words and deeds of Jesus. But in doing this, they have denied the very essence of their assertion that the Bible was inspired by God. If we accept the Bible as the truly inspired Word of God, then we must receive it as God intended and conclude that it does not present a completely literal historical account of the words and deeds of Jesus. It does not even tell us what He really said!

    This is highest view of Scripture - it is a view that does not attempt to force the Bible to fit our human concepts of what the "Word of God" should be, but rather accepts what God has revealed as it is. To repeat what I said in the OP: Questions like this have vexed believers since the beginning because they felt that they had "nothing" if not a literal historical record of Christ in the Gospels. The revelation of the Bible Wheel helps free us from this limitation. We know that the Bible is of God, so now we can receive it as such and admit that the pieces do need to fit into human categories like "literal historical narrative" in order to be true and inspired by God.

    I would be very interested to dig deeper with you into these questions and their implications.

    All the best,

    Richard
    In a way I would agree with you that we cannot say for sure about each sentence 'this is the very line Christ uttered' (word-order perfect, word perfect), since we do not know that, however I think in light of what Jesus said to His disciples in John 14:26 we can know we have the essence of those talks and words, and further there is probably insight from the Helper as to the implications of what was being said, implications which likely went straight over their heads at the time Christ actually said the things they are recounting.

    I am not sure what you are meaning when you say that because of the BW we do not need to try and fit these words into literal historical narrative? Why would you want to ditch the historical basis for the accounts just because you didn't have the very literal words, word-perfect, that Christ spoke. To me that seems like an unjustified leap.
    He has told you, O man,what is good;
    And what does the Lord require of you
    But to do justice, to love kindness,
    And to walk humbly with your God

    Micah 6:8

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abigail View Post
    In a way I would agree with you that we cannot say for sure about each sentence 'this is the very line Christ uttered' (word-order perfect, word perfect), since we do not know that, however I think in light of what Jesus said to His disciples in John 14:26 we can know we have the essence of those talks and words, and further there is probably insight from the Helper as to the implications of what was being said, implications which likely went straight over their heads at the time Christ actually said the things they are recounting.

    I am not sure what you are meaning when you say that because of the BW we do not need to try and fit these words into literal historical narrative? Why would you want to ditch the historical basis for the accounts just because you didn't have the very literal words, word-perfect, that Christ spoke. To me that seems like an unjustified leap.
    Yes, I alluded to that verse:
    John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
    And we affirm this truth when we agree that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. But if we say that we have only the "essence" of what Jesus said we are left not knowing what he actually said and this opens up a can of worms relative to the defense of the Bible as the literal historical record of "what Jesus really said and did." And it also evokes a very troubling question - did the Holy Spirit "inspire" a false record? If we insist that the inspired record is a literal historical narrative, then having only the "essence" of the Truth is no better than a falsehood because it is not "The Truth." Why did God inspire apparently contradictory accounts that are impossible to reconcile? This is the problem with capital T kind of Truth - we can not assert that the Gospels give a True Literal Historical Record if they only give the "essence" of that Truth along with a lot of "non-essential" non-Truths. As far as I can tell, there is no way to harmonize all the statements of the Gospels into a single integrated literal historical narrative.

    Now the existence of the BW does not mean we "do not need to try and fit these words into literal historical narrative." I came to that conclusion when I simply accepted Scripture as it is given. But this conclusion causes many people to reject the Bible as the Word of God because as soon as we say that the Gospels give only the "essence" of what Jesus said, folks naturally ask "How much represents what Jesus really said, and how much is stuff made up by the Gospel writers?" This is exemplified in the extreme by the many books on textual criticism that often conclude by denying that Jesus said much of anything recorded in the Gospels.

    The BW counters this tendency by giving us a powerful, intellectually defensible and satisfying direct perception that the Scriptures as a whole were designed by God. Thus, we accept it as it is without feeling a need to force it into human categories like "literal historical narrative" in order to defend it as the "Word of God."

    And this opens our minds to the possibility that the Bible is something much more than a mere historical narrative. It seems to me that this is the intent of the Author of Scripture because of the way that He designed the Bible. He did not intend for us to mistake it for a literal historical record - we know this because He made it impossible for us to understand it that way.

    I'm still working on understanding all this. Please don't take anything as my "last word." I very much appreciate your questions because they help me think about it.

    All the very best,

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by kathryn View Post
    I'm not sure what you mean here Richard..."at this level"? Surely the intellect must get in the way of the Spirit at times? We know that the Word of God is true...and therefore He had to say both. Thankfully, your work on gematria, has given us a greater ability to see the Fulness of His meaning.
    Yes, the intellect can "get in the way" but without it we couldn't even read God's Word! We know that God gave us an intellect for a reason and that He also repeatedly told us how very important it is to be wise and knowledgeable and understanding and able to discern between truth and falsehood. Of course, our intellect can very much "get in the way" if we do not trust God first:
    Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
    Now your solution that Jesus "had to say both" is a fine solution that has worked for many folks. I think that God intended folks to be able to receive His Word at this level so they can grow in their Spirit. We don't feed "strong meat" to babies. But neither do we feed adults only milk. As folks mature and meditate more upon the Word, they will encounter the problems that I have highlighted. This too is of God - for He designed these problems into His Word for a reason.

    What do you suppose is the reason that God designed His Word so that it appears impossible to harmonize all the pieces?

    Great chatting,

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    [/INDENT]And we affirm this truth when we agree that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. But if we say that we have only the "essence" of what Jesus said we are left not knowing what he actually said and this opens up a can of worms relative to the defense of the Bible as the literal historical record of "what Jesus really said and did.
    I think you have a lower opinion of the notion of 'essence' than I do. By 'essence' I mean the salient points of the narrative. IOW we do know what He meant to be heard.

    Quote Originally Posted by RAM
    And it also evokes a very troubling question - did the Holy Spirit "inspire" a false record? If we insist that the inspired record is a literal historical narrative, then having only the "essence" of the Truth is no better than a falsehood because it is not "The Truth." Why did God inspire apparently contradictory accounts that are impossible to reconcile? This is the problem with capital T kind of Truth - we can not assert that the Gospels give a True Literal Historical Record if they only give the "essence" of that Truth along with a lot of "non-essential" non-Truths.
    Come-on RAM, where did I say that it was the essence along with a whole load non-essential non-truths. This is your interpretation because of the way you view literal truth. If we had to accept your view then we could hardly ever take anything anyone says as true since most people cannot recount what has been said in the past in a word perfect order.

    Quote Originally Posted by RAM
    As far as I can tell, there is no way to harmonize all the statements of the Gospels into a single integrated literal historical narrative.
    Well seeing as we have a three year period under consideration and we also have the differing witness accounts, different people noticing different things etc, it is not likely an easy job to integrate the Gospels. And that is before allowing for the ways the ancient writers presented their narratives.

    Quote Originally Posted by RAM
    Now the existence of the BW does not mean we "do not need to try and fit these words into literal historical narrative." I came to that conclusion when I simply accepted Scripture as it is given. But this conclusion causes many people to reject the Bible as the Word of God because as soon as we say that the Gospels give only the "essence" of what Jesus said, folks naturally ask "How much represents what Jesus really said, and how much is stuff made up by the Gospel writers?"
    Again you are poisoning the well re 'essence'. Essence is equivalent to the salient points Jesus made in His narrative. Lots of people accept Scripture as it is given because they accept that the people who recorded the narratives really did care about handing down to us the things they saw done amongst them. See Luke 1:1-4 . Luke has a very high opinion of eye-witness testimony. Was he talking about the minds eye if they were not literally seeing things.

    Quote Originally Posted by RAM
    This is exemplified in the extreme by the many books on textual criticism that often conclude by denying that Jesus said much of anything recorded in the Gospels.
    Maybe it is not given to them to reconcile the narratives.

    Quote Originally Posted by RAM
    The BW counters this tendency by giving us a powerful, intellectually defensible and satisfying direct perception that the Scriptures as a whole were designed by God. Thus, we accept it as it is without feeling a need to force it into human categories like "literal historical narrative" in order to defend it as the "Word of God."
    Yes but what is God even talking about if we cannot relate it to our physical existence. Did Jesus actually exist? Did He really rise from the dead bodily? You seem to be saying that the BW tells us this is true because we believe the BW but intellectually we know very well this is not historical narrative.

    Quote Originally Posted by RAM
    And this opens our minds to the possibility that the Bible is something much more than a mere historical narrative. It seems to me that this is the intent of the Author of Scripture because of the way that He designed the Bible. He did not intend for us to mistake it for a literal historical record - we know this because He made it impossible for us to understand it that way.

    I'm still working on understanding all this. Please don't take anything as my "last word." I very much appreciate your questions because they help me think about it.

    All the very best,

    Richard
    I accept the Bible is something more than historical narrative however it so obviously has actual historical ties and literal meanings too, that to deny these things just seems like closing ones eyes to a good part of reality


    Abigail
    He has told you, O man,what is good;
    And what does the Lord require of you
    But to do justice, to love kindness,
    And to walk humbly with your God

    Micah 6:8

  8. #18
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    Hi Richard...I think He designed His word this way, for the same reason He spoke in parables. It is something that is grasped by faith/spirit first, and then He reveals His design and logic to our intellect. I believe this was the natural order of apprehending Truth before the Fall, Spirit first, then intellect. Of course both are equally important.

  9. #19
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    Just wanted to add that I believe inherent in the written word, is a fail-safe mechanism that will always keeps the move from milk to meat a matter of the heart.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abigail View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RAM
    And we affirm this truth when we agree that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. But if we say that we have only the "essence" of what Jesus said we are left not knowing what he actually said and this opens up a can of worms relative to the defense of the Bible as the literal historical record of "what Jesus really said and did."
    I think you have a lower opinion of the notion of 'essence' than I do. By 'essence' I mean the salient points of the narrative. IOW we do know what He meant to be heard.
    Hey there Abigail,

    I don't have a "high" or "low" view of the idea of essence. I knew what you meant. But if we have only the "salient points" then we don't have knowledge of what Jesus really said. If your view is correct, then any time we read "And Jesus said ..." we should interpret it to mean "And the essence of what Jesus said is ..." and this would significantly change our perception of Scripture, would it not? I think this is a very important question because many of the arguments for and against certain positions are based on accepting that Jesus really said "X" and then analyzing the detailed implications of the precise statement "X." We can not do this if we have only the "essence" of what He said.

    Quote Originally Posted by Abigail View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RAM
    And it also evokes a very troubling question - did the Holy Spirit "inspire" a false record? If we insist that the inspired record is a literal historical narrative, then having only the "essence" of the Truth is no better than a falsehood because it is not "The Truth." Why did God inspire apparently contradictory accounts that are impossible to reconcile? This is the problem with capital T kind of Truth - we can not assert that the Gospels give a True Literal Historical Record if they only give the "essence" of that Truth along with a lot of "non-essential" non-Truths.
    Come-on RAM, where did I say that it was the essence along with a whole load non-essential non-truths. This is your interpretation because of the way you view literal truth. If we had to accept your view then we could hardly ever take anything anyone says as true since most people cannot recount what has been said in the past in a word perfect order.
    I did not say you said that "it was the essence along with a whole load non-essential non-truths" - that is a logical implication I drew from your statement. If a pair of parallel passages state that "Jesus said X" and "Jesus said Y" then we have only a few possibilities:

    1) Jesus said both X and Y
    2) Jesus said X and not Y
    3) Jesus said Y and not X
    4) Jesus said neither X or Y

    Now given that you suggested that Jesus may not have said either X or Y exactly, but that they both communicate the "essence" of the truth of whatever Jesus really did say, then we must conclude that the record of Jesus saying "X" and "Y" contains elements that are not true in fact. These the the "non-essential non-truths" of which I spoke.

    It seems your answer to the question of this thread is that we do not know what Jesus really said, but that's OK because we know the essence of what He said. And I agree with this completely in as much as it fulfills the purpose of Scripture which is to teach us the spiritual truths about Jesus. Does anything else really matter? If the Gospels preach the Truth we need to know God through Christ, then what does it matter if the record is a literal historical narrative or not? Do not the truths remain the same? We are not saved by believing something about the nature of the Biblical record - except its spiritual truth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Abigail View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RAM
    As far as I can tell, there is no way to harmonize all the statements of the Gospels into a single integrated literal historical narrative.
    Well seeing as we have a three year period under consideration and we also have the differing witness accounts, different people noticing different things etc, it is not likely an easy job to integrate the Gospels. And that is before allowing for the ways the ancient writers presented their narratives.
    Your last sentence picks up on a very important point. Did the "ancient writers" present their narratives as "teaching stories" or as "literal historical narratives?" And more importantly, how does God intend for us to interpret His Word? The doctrine that the Gospels should be taken as literal, sequential, historical narratives appears to contradict the evidence that God has given in His Word. To me, this means that God intends for us to understand the Gospels in some other way. He is infinitely wise and He chose to present His Word the way He did, so we should accept the implications of His presentation without imposing the conditions of any preconceived human categories.

    Quote Originally Posted by Abigail View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RAM
    Now the existence of the BW does not mean we "do not need to try and fit these words into literal historical narrative." I came to that conclusion when I simply accepted Scripture as it is given. But this conclusion causes many people to reject the Bible as the Word of God because as soon as we say that the Gospels give only the "essence" of what Jesus said, folks naturally ask "How much represents what Jesus really said, and how much is stuff made up by the Gospel writers?"
    Again you are poisoning the well re 'essence'. Essence is equivalent to the salient points Jesus made in His narrative. Lots of people accept Scripture as it is given because they accept that the people who recorded the narratives really did care about handing down to us the things they saw done amongst them. See Luke 1:1-4 . Luke has a very high opinion of eye-witness testimony. Was he talking about the minds eye if they were not literally seeing things.
    That's a very good point. Luke was particularly concerned with presenting what we moderns understand as a "literal historical narrative." But this only exacerbates the problem because Luke's record differs sufficiently so it seems impossible to understand it as an absolutely accurate "literal historical narrative" in light of the contrary testimonies of the other Gospels. A simple solution is to accept Luke's assertion that he based his record on the reports of eye-witnesses without jumping to the conclusion that everything Luke recorded literally happened as stated. In other words, Luke's eye-witnesses really did have a literal encounter with Jesus and saw His mighty works, but that does not mean that their recollections of those encounters should be understood as "literally historically accurate" in every detail. If we assert that Luke's record is literally historically accurate in every detail, then we must question the authenticity of the other Gospel's that don't agree exactly, or create the entirely unbelievable interpretation that apparently parallel passages actually record separate events.

    Quote Originally Posted by Abigail View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RAM
    This is exemplified in the extreme by the many books on textual criticism that often conclude by denying that Jesus said much of anything recorded in the Gospels.
    Maybe it is not given to them to reconcile the narratives.
    Are you now suggesting that they can actually be reconciled into a single literally accurate historical narrative? I thought you didn't take that view.

    Quote Originally Posted by Abigail View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RAM
    The BW counters this tendency by giving us a powerful, intellectually defensible and satisfying direct perception that the Scriptures as a whole were designed by God. Thus, we accept it as it is without feeling a need to force it into human categories like "literal historical narrative" in order to defend it as the "Word of God."
    Yes but what is God even talking about if we cannot relate it to our physical existence. Did Jesus actually exist? Did He really rise from the dead bodily? You seem to be saying that the BW tells us this is true because we believe the BW but intellectually we know very well this is not historical narrative.
    I think there has been a HUGE misunderstanding. I affirm the literal historical truth of the death and resurrection of Jesus. I have never suggested that nothing about the Biblical record is literally historically true! That's why this is such a vexing challenge to understand. The whole story of Christ is embedded in history, and that's very significant. But it seems that God has presented His Word in such a way as to show that the record contains many elements that are not historical narratives though they appear to be.

    Here is the key: A story can reveal truth whether it literally happened or not. Jesus taught some of His deepest truths by telling parables that did not literally happen. All of those parables were embedded in a historical setting. Is it possible that the entire Bible follows this pattern?

    Quote Originally Posted by Abigail View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RAM
    And this opens our minds to the possibility that the Bible is something much more than a mere historical narrative. It seems to me that this is the intent of the Author of Scripture because of the way that He designed the Bible. He did not intend for us to mistake it for a literal historical record - we know this because He made it impossible for us to understand it that way.

    I'm still working on understanding all this. Please don't take anything as my "last word." I very much appreciate your questions because they help me think about it.

    All the very best,

    Richard
    I accept the Bible is something more than historical narrative however it so obviously has actual historical ties and literal meanings too, that to deny these things just seems like closing ones eyes to a good part of reality


    Abigail
    As noted above, I have never denied that there are literal historical elements in Scripture. That would be foolish in the extreme. My point is simple. We all know that logical coherence is a requirement for any account to be a literally accurate historical narrative. A careful reading of Scripture seems to indicate quite clearly that the records of Jesus in the Gospels do not meet this standard. Therefore, while set in the context of real history, the records themselves appear to be something else. Something like parables. It's as if the Gospels present how Jesus would have responded in various situations so we can see Him from many different angles. The essential points such as His death and resurrection are literal historical events, but that does not mean that we have a literal historical record of the exact sequence of those events. That's why people have never been able to completely resolve the sequence of the Passion Week.

    These difficulties do not destroy the historical facts of the life of Jesus - they just change the way that we understand how God presented those facts.

    All the very best,

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

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