Monday, April 18, 2005

New way of thinking from the Old Testament

The following passages are from Phillip Yancey's The Bible Jesus Read and did not come from my pen or keyboard, originally. I wish they had.

If we had only the Gospels, we would envision a God who seems confined, all-too-human, and rather weak - after all, Jesus ended up hanging on a cross. The Jews objected so strongly to Jesus because, despite his audacious claims, he did not match their conception of what God is like; they rejected him for not measuring up.... [W]e need that background picture (of the picture of God in thee Old Testament) in order to appreciate how much love the Incarnation expressed - how much God gave up on our behalf.

Apart from the Old Testament we will always have an impoverished view of God. God is not a philosophical construct but a Person who acts in history. (pp. 26-27, Chptr 1, "Is the Old Testament Worth the Effort?")
And this, about the permeance of the Old Testament in our lives and thinking and the ways we approach history and justice:

So many of the concepts and words we use daily - new, individual, person, history, freedom, spirit, justice, time, faith , pilgrimage, revolution - derive from the Old Testament that we can hardly imagine the world and our place in it without relying on the Jewish heritage. A comic character in one of Moliere's plays suddenly discovers, "I am speaking prose! I am speaking prose!" Similarly, our roots go so deep in Old Testament thinking that in many ways - human rights, government, the treatment of neighbors, our understanding of God - we are already speaking and thinking "Old Testament." (p. 23, Chptr. 1)

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