Monday, June 16, 2008

Time for Group Discussion

We understand only a little, as people first and Christians second. I use “we” because I see myself as part of this larger whole, humanity, then having this wonderful Spirit of God in common with those who profess Christ.

Why and how do we keep away from from being wholly God’s? I recently wrote about idolatry. Idolatry is an issue for some, no doubt; but I think it is a symptom of a larger issue.

Here’s the issue: the eyes of our hearts—read Ephesians 1:18 in context—are not seeing what we might see. In other words, what is beautiful about God which you want to see, but wonder if you do. Why is this so?

Let me hear from you.


Craig V. said...

Perhaps hearing must come before seeing. I'm probably not making much sense. I hope that's allowed in a discussion. The point I'm trying to get at is the distinction Jesus makes between seeing and faith. Hearing is related to belief. We might say faith is hearing without seeing.

ded said...

You make sense. All things are allowed in discussion. That's the purpose, to have a place to say whatever we think we need to say. All comments are allowed to fly here.

Your comment makes me think:

But if we take the step to hear, do we stop there?

Craig V. said...

I would say, in this life, we never get beyond hearing (though I'll need to think on this a bit more). Either way, though, it seems to me that we often think we've moved past hearing when in fact we haven't heard at all.

ded said...

True enough. Is that a perspective based on experience of revelation?
There is still something Paul understood when he wrote Eph. 1:18.
Whether I or we find such sight or not, that lack does not negate something Paul knew as reality.

Craig V. said...

You're right. I left out the heart of your question, Ephesians 1:18. Notice a couple of things. First it's the eyes of our hearts (as you point out). So it seems Paul is pointing us to a different kind of seeing. Second, when we see, we know the hope to which we've been called. Is it the sight of faith (the assurance of hope)? If so, we see not with our eyes but when we hear the Word in faith.

ded said...

Yes, and your answer suggest to me that you thought I meant seeing with literal sight, maybe? Sorry if I seemed to suggest such.

Since I started on the idolatry thing, I have been in my mind attempting push an idea of how to "see" spiritually. It is the "different" kind of seeing I am interested in articulating. Thanks for helping!

You said, "...hear the Word in faith." Absolutely! One step more:
To "hear" or "see" spiritually is to recognize that "Word" while drawn from literal symbols on a page of a certain book, is about the abstract force of the meanings represented, Jesus, Himself.

Craig V. said...

I just responded too quickly. As I read your post, it occurred to me that thinking about the differences between seeing and hearing might add some value. The differences are not absolute, however, so as I tried to write them down I realized I was not very clear. In trying to become clear I veered off topic.

The main difference I was aiming for is related to control. We have more control over what we see (or don't see) than we do over what we hear. So if we ask what we see or don't see in terms of God's beauty the metaphor makes us more active than passive. Also, words are more intimately connected with hearing than with seeing. So we hear the Word and to avoid hearing Him we have to drown Him out somehow. To see God's beauty, if I'm on track, means to hear the Word and believe. Believing is a kind of sight.

What does all this mean and why does it matter? Suppose someone is struggling and says "I don't see God in my life." It may seem that we should suggest some activity. Read your Bible, go to church, pray regularly etc... These are all good things, but we all know we can keep quite busy doing them and not see God's beauty. The problem is not that were not doing something we should do. The problem is that we drown out the voice of God. Our activities make it worse. So we need to listen before we can see.