It Doth Weareth

When I read a book by an author that talks about kings and kingdoms, lords and majesty and glory, sovereignty, rule and rulers, power and might, and this is the world he and his audience experience, I know all are stuck in that culture and likely all images and analogies and anecdotes will revolve around it.

It is absurd to me to think such a book should speak to my culture using the same language. When studying previous cultures, we learn not to judge their history from our perspective; to develop a “historical perspective”. But it seems to me we must bring the same to bear in the other direction.

If for example, democracy is objectively more beneficial than monarchy, dictatorships, or oligarchy, why presume to talk about God literally in inferior terms using foreign ideas? If for instance we now can see retributive justice is ineffectual and immoral and reformative justice better encompasses what the aim of justice is or should be, then why continue to have a retributivist God? Nearly the length and breadth of scripture is this way.

When God is defined as incomprehensible then it entails we cannot comprehend God, and we cannot comprehend God and then understand God. This is an inviolable fact of the matter and there are no exceptions.

What we think of God is what we think of God. What we believe about God is what we believe. We will in any case experience the reality of acting on those beliefs and whatever meaning we derive from it all. It would be odd to expect the cleanest route to any experience to be found through recreating a dead culture and then living through it.

Such an expectation is analogous to the entendre of the quip, “The King James Version was good enough for Jesus, so it’s good enough for me!” However, the solution doesn’t merely involve updated, modern language. It entails the length and breadth of scripture and identifying the principles the language and culture is writing with and within. In that case, we can only say God now looks a lot different than He once did, but only because we missed the points for them being hidden in time and foreign languages and cultures we failed to understand.

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