January 28, 2005

Healing of an Official's Son / Crystal

The part that stood out for me - Jesus says "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe." as if he's miffed, yet still he does as asked.

I know now that many (most?) people don't take the miracles of Jesus literally, but that's what I've been doing, and until I began this study group, I hadn't realized how unusual that is. The hard part for me was believing in God at all - a supernatural being - the leap to believing in miracles seemed no big stretch after that. Part of the miracles thing, to me, is the question of whether God intervenes in the natural world. I'd like to thiink so ... that he answers prayers just as Jesus in this passage answered the request of the Official to heal his son.


At 6:58 a.m., Blogger david said...

I really thing thsi literal vs. metaphor thing is a false paradox. It is clear to me the gospel writers want me to read the miracle stories as if they were historical events. But also clear is they point past the history to the reality of God's work in the world and through us.

I therefore read miracle stories as if they were parables but keep the literal in the back of my mind to keep the metaphor from becoming allegory.

I construct meanings as I read but I want my construction to rooted in the intentions -- as far as I can discern them of both the human author and the Divine One who whispered in the human author's heart.

At 8:55 a.m., Blogger Larry said...

Crystal, I like you David and Marjorie take miracles quite literally; I have experienced many miracles in my own life and experience. It isn't just that he did them back there, but that he's doing them right now-- all the time.

I agree with what David says about the dichotomy between the literal and the metaphoric, but I'm coming from a social environment where people stop with the literal. The literal addresses us materially, the metaphoric, the mythopoeic, the poetic address the spirit in us.

I perceive an absence of spiritual consciousness in so many people in our secular culture, that I want to shake, quake, shock people into it, although I know in my heart it doesn't happen like that. I'm impatient waiting for God to create a spiritual consciousness in everyone-- including myself.

My wife used to work for a creative govt agency in Washington. Most of her associates were secular. She asked one young man she liked, a Greek Orthodox actually, if he felt like he was primarily a body or a spirit. He said, a body.

We grieve over him, because about that time his new bride was paralyzed in an auto accident. If he didn't get 'born in the spirit', God help them both.

When we commit ourselves seriously to God, we grow in his spirit, day by day, hour by hour, year by year. The life of the spirit is the central thing that determines everything else.

At 1:51 p.m., Blogger crystal said...

David - yes, I think I'm feeling defensive of some ideas I had about Jesus/God. Not defensive against what you guys are saying, but sssuddenly questioning the ideas I have ... it's kind of disturbing but maybe a good thing.

Larry - an interesting subject ... body and spirit ... some scholars, like Felix Just, think that the body lives on after death as well as the soul ...

# Christians believe in the "Resurrection of the Body," not merely the "Immortality of the (disembodied) Soul"!
* even if our mortal bodies are buried or cremated, we will receive some type of "resurrected body";
* what that new body will be like is unknown, but it will be totally different from our present bodies
* thus, "resurrection" involves the reunification of the spirit or soul with a new and immortal body.
... strange, because I'd always thought of only the soul being important / surviving.

At 8:14 p.m., Blogger david said...

As liberal meeting Friends go I'm an odd duck. Triunitarian and bodily resurrection. If in the next life my disabled flesh just melts away then how can my disablity be redeemed? It too will be translated with me - for I am not spirit trapped in flesh but enspirited flesh. The "real" me is spirited body or incarnated spirit -- not one opr the other.

At 11:10 a.m., Blogger Marjorie said...

Crystal, yes it is disturbing to question things you've taken for granted. Try not to let it trouble you too much, its part of growth to question and you will find answers. I'm often troubled myself, but I try to recall the many promises of the Bible, not one of my sheep will be lost; never will I forsake you.

Of course I take the miracles as historical events, but I think each of them also points out a spiritual truth -- seeing, feeding, healing, these have metaphorical meanings as well. Its like a spiral, or a staircase, perhaps the literal is the first rung and it goes from there.

I'm like you, though, once we believe in God, I don't have any difficulty in believing in the miracles, the resurrection, etc.

At 1:05 p.m., Blogger Larry said...

Cyrstal: " Felix Just, think that the body lives on after death as well as the soul ..." I also believe in the resurrection of the body. But according to Paul it is a spiritual body:

Ist Corinthians 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

The whole chapter is well worth studying.

At 1:21 p.m., Blogger crystal said...

Hi Larry. I haven't read much about it but it's interesting, especially when I think about how Jesus' body was after he rose from the dead. He was physical enough to still have nail holes in his hands(wrists?) and to eat fish ... yet he was different enough that most of the disciples didn't recognise him at first ... sounds like he had a physical body yet it was somehow different.


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