Knowing and Loving God: Part 2b
by Jonathan Hamilton
Tuesday, June 17, continued (previous post here)
What about the problem of analogy? If all we know about Him is analogical, how can we really know anything about Him?
- God embraces analogy. The Bible embraces analogy. The Bible is full of deliberately analogical content (Psalm 23, for example). Don’t jump right to exegesis in these texts, pay attention to two things: 1) What is the Psalmist doing (not just what he is saying)? He’s painting a picture of God as my Shepherd. He is painting a picture of God. 2) What is the Psalmist evoking?
- David is not just doing, he’s evoking. He is showing we ought to respond to God in some ways, and not in other ways. If we are entering into the world that the Psalmist is creating, we will not only picture something, but feel something and respond. Trust? Submission? Comfort? Thankfulness? Encouragement? Never fear dark shadows since God is in charge? If we really enter into the Psalm we will feel these things.
- The power of the Psalm lies in its ability to command these responses implicitly rather than explicitly. A lecture on the same truths would not have nearly the same effect. Consider Nathan’s confrontation of King David. These texts are not unique (i.e. isolated). Much of the Bible is imaginative literature, something like 85%! Why? (I encourage you to think about the answer for a minute before skipping down to the answer below)…
Because if we are to know God, we have to be able to imagine Him.
How can we know these images are adequate (and accurate, for that matter)?
- God has chosen them. (And we need to understand them in their grammatical / historical / cultural context).
- God has made them. (This concept was breathtaking to me in its simplicity and profundity. I had never previously considered it.) God didn’t just go exploring in the world to find items to use for this. He created exactly the things He would need to illustrate Himself to us. In eternity past, God IS the Shepherd.
- To illustrate further, God did not go seeking for something to describe his protection of His people and say “Aha, a rock. This will be perfect!” God created the rock so that He could then use it to illustrate His nature as deliverer and refuge. This idea completely turned my thinking around.
- A helpful devotional idea: Make lists of images the Bible uses to describe God, the Father, the Son, the Church, salvation, believers, etc. BUT REMEMBER…
- A distorted view of a shepherd will distort your view of God.
- A distorted view of a father will distort your view of The Father.
- So instead of interpreting God through the image of your father, for instance, understand what a father ought to be based on Who God is. (Again at this point I was about to burst within from recognizing the truth, practicality, and usefulness of these ideas even as I thought of my own distorted views of God, others around me who misunderstand God, future counseling situations where this will be pertinent, etc.)
- KEY IDEA MOVING FORWARD: Anything that shapes our images is of primary importance. It is PARAMOUNT! Keep this idea in mind. As we progress through our series, it will become patently apparent why we must do so.
Now, before closing out today’s notes, there were a couple of other thoughts we covered on Day Two that didn’t fall into the flow above, so we will cover them now separately.
1) Dr. Bauder recommended using hymns and poems in private worship. I will list a few resources below that he mentioned might be worthy of picking up. They are not easy to come by but would be worth grabbing if you came across them:
- Trinity Hymnal (the Baptist edition is very expensive online….perhaps a used bookstore would be better)
- Hymns of Grace and Glory (Joan Pinkston)
- Christina Rossetti
- Poets to read: John Milton, English Metaphysical poets (George Herbert, John Donne, Richard Crayshaw, Henry Vaughan), Frederick William Faber
2) Dr. Bauder also covered another important topic on this day: Women’s Roles In Corporate Worship (1 Timothy 2:8-15)
What can women do in a corporate worship service? Why could a woman prophesy (1 Corinthians 11) but not teach (1 Timothy 2)? (It would be worthwhile to reflect on these passages before reading his answer.)
- There’s a kind of authority being exercised in Timothy that is not in Corinthians. A prophet did not speak on his own authority or interpretation of the message. He simply relayed the message (similar to a woman simply reading Scripture today). Preaching is interpretive and also bears the authority of the office of pastor-teacher.
- There are levels of “teaching authority.” For example: Pastor —> guest speaker —> testimony sharer
- Paul is talking about (forbidding) the kind of teaching that exercises authority over adult males. (In other words, a woman singing (“teaching”) from the choir is not a biblical problem)
- A good test question: Is the woman functioning more like
- A) A pastor teaching his congregation, or:
- B) Priscilla (along with her husband Aquila) teaching Apollos?
- Remember verse 11 (1 Tim. 2): The core imperative (command) is “let the women learn.” This is the command (Some would have restricted women from learning in the church, and Paul was confronting that). Don’t get too wrapped up in the rest of the verse until you’ve got that part first.
- Dr. Bauder was not at all saying the rest of the verse is not important, but was highlighting the core message of the verse, which if you miss, you will most likely misunderstand the totality of Paul’s argument.
NEXT UP: Knowing and Loving God: Part 3a