Ambiguity

She holds a PhD in Physics and knows as much about black holes in the universe as anyone. Janna Levin described her transition from a philosophy major at university to physics in a recent podcast.

“People would say, ‘this is what Kant meant when he said…’, and then there would be debates. No one says, ‘this is what Einstein meant in the Special Theory of Relativity,’ and the math is there to back it up.”

She has a point. Ambiguity is a pain.

Some people read Paul’s writing contained in the New Testament as if it’s a list to separate the good people (us) from the bad people (them). Others read the same letters and sense the overwhelming feeling of God’s grace and how Paul was deeply affected by God’s faithfulness to his creation.

Check out the debates on what John “meant” in his Revelation. If someone tells you they’ve figured it all out and can tell you exactly what John meant, run the other way.

Wisdom literature, both in the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian New Testament, as well as in multitudes of other ancient sources are pretty clear. (Few follow the advice, but it’s there for the reading.)

When one starts to talk about spiritual union with God and “details” of the kingdom of God and describing “heaven” and eternity, well, we have no precise language.

What we have is experience. If we follow the same spiritual practices humans have practiced for millennia, we will experience the presence of God. It is often indescribable. On the other hand, others can see it in the person who has.

I have studied the Bible for most of my life. I’ve read many scholars. I think I’ve attained a decent understanding for someone who refused to be indoctrinated in a graduate program. And this is not in vain.

However, it also isn’t what’s important. What is important is the daily practice of the presence of God. It’s simple, it’s not arguable, it’s the spark of life.

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