May 9: 4 Iyar
In 1939, the English apologist C. S. Lewis made this statement in a letter:
“The process of living seems to consist in coming to realize truths so ancient and simple that, if stated, they sound like barren platitudes.”
Here’s my translation of what Mr. Lewis was trying to say, in the context of trying to understand the Bible: “The older I get, the more I realize how ridiculously confusing accepted theology can be and how simple, logical and profound is the ancient message of Scripture. It’s so simple, in fact, that most people are very hesitant to accept it.”
Imagine a university professor busily writing some mathematic equation on a chalkboard, replete with numbers, characters and arrows connecting far away components of this elaborate work of brain power. This would be the kind of work an Einstein would be working on and that most of us would have no idea of what it meant. Allow me to suggest that, in some aspects of understanding the Bible, that’s accepted theology. In sharp contrast to that, the Scripture looks more like, 1 + 1 = 2, 2 + 2 = 4 and so on. Considering this notion, look at what Moses wrote along these lines:
“For this commandment which I command you this day is not hidden from you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who shall go up for us to heaven for us and bring it unto us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who shall go over the sea for us and bring it unto us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near unto you, even in your mouth, and in your heart, that you may do it.” (Deuteronomy 30:11-14)
As far back as the time of Moses, mankind has been afflicted with this particular disease that we’ll call theologitis. Our interpretations of what God said, oftentimes, are so convoluted that we have to wrap it around our elbow to reach our nose. Too many times we stretch things to make it fit our preconceived notions. The point, today, is why can’t the Scripture just mean what it actually says? To be clear, we’re not saying all theology is bad and needs to be scrapped but we do need to go back and read the Scripture and let it speak for itself. Theology is the study of God and not necessarily equivalent to the Word of God. Reading the Scripture and allowing it to interpret itself simplifies our lives by helping us to better perform His will in our lives.
And so, let us live our lives in a way that actually matches what the Scripture says so that we can faithfully and efficiently represent His Word to others.