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Posted on 05/03/2013 11:48:54 AM PDT by Teˇfilo
Brethren, Peace and Good to all of you.
Today we remember the holy apostles Phillip and Nathaniel. Phillip in particular had a memorable intervention in Johns Gospel which is the one read at Mass today (John 14: 6-14):
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.Gods Eternal Image of Himself
If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him."
Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied."
Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, `Show us the Father'?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father.
Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.
These verses reflect the beauty and the depth so much present throughout the soaring Gospel of John. These from todays Mass in particular caught my special attention:
If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him."
Why is the Father known in Jesus? This is because Jesus reflects the Father perfectly, as mirror image can be said to reflect the original subject. However, as with all analogies when we talk about God, this one breaks down when we consider that God is pure act, eternal, without beginning or end. In Him theres no past or future, but an ever present in which His nature is to be, transcending space and time. Let me expand a bit.
God sees Himself in a supreme pure act of self-consciousness in which He beholds Himself. We can barely approximate this act of self-awareness in ourselves, when we construct an idea of ourselves as bodily, personal beings in our minds and label this image I or me. But in us this image is just that, a kind of projection to which we ascribe certain qualities and attributes that may (or may not) approximate our reality because, due to sin or its effects, we can distort the very image we have of ourselves nor can we contemplate this image at all times without distraction and when we do, we do run the risk of becoming selfish, self-centered.
Yet, Gods image of Himself is Perfect, flawless, and coextensive with His very being. He contemplates Himself for all eternity in one single act which is, again, coextensive with His one Being without risk of degenerating into selfish self-centeredness.
We can see this notion of Christ being an image of God without the further attenuation of likeness in those instances found elsewhere in the Bible describing man as being created in the image and likeness of God in Colossians 1:5. In a language very similar to that of John, the apostle Paul calls Jesus the image of the invisible God.
To put it bluntly, this image that God has of Himself is Himself and that Image became incarnate in Jesus Christ. Thats why in the Man Jesus the firstborn of all creatures, also according to Colossian 1:5 we see God perfectly in human form.
Mans pining for God answered in Jesus Christ
Phillip fails to understand the import of Jesus explicit declaration, since Phillip asks Jesus again:
Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied."What Phillip saw in Jesus humanity did not exhaust the mystery of God in Phillips eyes because, for Phillip, Jesus humanity was ordinary, compact, finite and circumscribed to the carpenters son standing before him. God Phillip thought has to be bigger than this man Jesus who claims to be the very image of God. Was Phillip on to something?
I think that another letter of Paul provides an answer to Phillip and those of us who like him want to see the Father, God in all His glory:
Have among yourselves the same attitude that is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness, and found human in appearance, he humbled himself (Philippians 2: 5-8, NAB)Despite being Gods very image (again, Colossians 1:5) Jesus did not cling to the glory proper to his nature and stature as God, but out of humility, he emptied himself into a human nature such that the first experience that Phillip had of God was Jesus in his human nature.
God had made the impossible: without stopping being God he became man. We can compare this to the emptying of the worlds oceans into a golf-ball hole! God fitted into a finite, circumscribed, compact, small human nature!
In effect, the only way in which we are to experience and encounter the Image of God who is God from the beginning is in the very humanity of Jesus Christ himself, who by virtue of being Gods Image, indwells in the Father and the Father in Him.
In Jesus, then, we find He for whom our heart pines for, the Eternal one from whom love gives Himself inexhaustibly in the Holy Spirit.
That will be the subject of a future post
Good post, thank you.
You are welcome! :-)
John — the other Gospels are more reflective of Jesus’s actual life, words, and ministry — and they’re highly edited.
the other Gospels are more reflective of Jesuss actual life, words, and ministry
Perhaps. Others differ. I take no position, it's immaterial to me.
and theyre highly edited
I don't know what you mean by "highly" - as opposed to "lowly"? - which would imply an extant text for comparison. If you meant "redacted" well, sure, I buy it. So what? What's your point?
Many changes, both inadvertent and deliberate, were made, even from the earliest texts we have - and we don’t have originals.
As for John, a group of Biblical scholars studied the 4 Gospels to determine how much of them was what Jesus actually said and did. They determined that the lowest amount of that was in John. Virtually none of it, in these scholars’ opinions, reflects the actual sayings of Jesus.
Many changes, both inadvertent and deliberate, were made, even from the earliest texts we have - and we dont have originals.
I'm aware of the "inadvertent" but "deliberate", you'll have to elucidate more.
As for John, a group of Biblical scholars studied the 4 Gospels to determine how much of them was what Jesus actually said and did. They determined that the lowest amount of that was in John. Virtually none of it, in these scholars opinions, reflects the actual sayings of Jesus.
You speak of the so-called "Jesus Seminar." I am aware of their findings. They have been debunked; they're also dated. You need to update your knowledge base:
Wouldn’t you say that in Jesus we see the immense Divine Love that empties itself for us? It is the unimaginable sacrifice of God willing to die for us that Jesus reveals, and before the Cross it could not be comprehended by the Apostles.
Jesus' Father was that Spirit:
And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. Luke 1:35, KJV
Christ, therefore, was the one God the Spirit in the flesh. Since God is an invisible Spirit, the only way Phillip could see the Father was to see Him in Christ.
Col. 1:15 agrees, it says Christ "Is the image of the invisible God."
Oneness Pentecostals do not believe the Father is an old grey bearded man. Don't know if you believe Him in that fashion, but I've got an old Baltimore Catachism with pictures of Him as just that. Seeing him that way would account for your explanation.
Thank you for your opinion.
I’ve always known that portraying God as “an Ancient of Days” as He is described in Daniel was an artistic liberty taken in order to faintly display an awesome reality. I have never, nor will you ever find an observant Catholic reducing the Reality to a painted image.
UPC’ers are in grave error regarding the Triune nature of God. They are Sabellians and Patripassians. I don’t consider their views as truthful.
I don’t say it. St. Paul does! ;-)
John writes theology, not a synoptic, like the other Gospels.
They Holy Spirit has inspired all Scripture. Strange that you are saying it is edited.
Could that just be the difference in Bibles as compared with the actual text in the Catholic Bible?
Ok, if you don't believe these "Ancient of Days" pictures in the old Baltimore Catechism are not the reality, what is? If you say the Father is Spirit and invisible, that's the reality, then you and the Oneness Pentecostals are not all that far apart then are you. Hold it...you then said this:
UPCers are in grave error regarding the Triune nature of God. They are Sabellians and Patripassians. I dont consider their views as truthful.
Obviously you must not believe as they about the Father. Please elaborate.
On Sabellius and Praxeus, it would be nice if we actually had their writings to judge exactly what they did believe. All we have are hostile witnesses, Hippolytus writing against Sabellius, and Tertullian writing against Praxaes (Patripassian issue). What ever they wrote it must have been quite damaging to their proto-Trinitarian enemies, their going to great pains making sure none of their writings remain.
I think you are confusing me with someone else. I’m a Catholic Christian who holds to Nicene orthodoxy. Your questions imply that I don’t hold tothe doctrine of the Triune God as normative. I do, every day, UPC late comers notwithstanding.
Debunked? IOW, you disagree with them.
Most of this is like the attempts to “debunk” Professor Ehrman: a lot of noise, a lot of personal criticism, very little evidentiary refutation.
By comparison to the earliest manuscripts we have (and we do not have originals), it is clear that entire sections, as well as key phrases, have been added or deleted, probably in accord with some scribe’s theological agenda, to “harmonize” verses or to make Jesus say what he is “supposed” to say, according to whichever movement that scribe supported.
I do disagree with the “Jesus Seminar” findings, which are dated, incomplete, and also determined by their own theological agenda. In fact, I question almost every activity in which John Dominic Crossan is involved.
Ehrman’s findings are unoriginal, derivative, and also determined by his own “Look at me, I am a former Fundie but I have seen the light” agenda. Therefore, I am skeptical of this skeptic.
As I provided to you before, biblical scholarship has moved along its late 1970’s, early 1980’s “facts”, and things are not as “settled” as you portray them to be.
What “theological agenda” do you think these scholars had? They’re people who study the Bible and know it intimately.
That it’s edited is beyond dispute. Compare the early versions to what we have now. That scribes added and subtracted entire verses and even chapters, as well as making simple transcription errors, is beyond dispute.
You say that “They Holy Spirit has inspired all Scripture.” That’s a theological opinion, nothing more. Even if it’s inspired, however, it’s still written (and edited) by human beings with agendas, some of which conflict.
We are told that we are “the image and likeness of God” and that “You are the light of the world.”
I've cross-posted that blog entry to FreeRep here
The basic premise of your argument is incorrect.
When you say that “This approach is really a toolkit of techniques that requires seeing Holy Scripture and its constituent books as primarily literary works made by human beings. Theology and doctrine are secondary concerns to higher critics”, you state the matter erroneously. The simple FACT is that the earliest texts differ noticeably from each other and from what we have today, meaning that someone changed them. This is not arguable.
That certainly isn’t how textual criticism works. It’s an attempt to get as close to the original work as we can — an inherently theological enterprise.
Further, the argument that they “deny the divine authorship or inspiration of the Bible” is simply incorrect. Professor Ehrman doesn’t deny divine inspiration. In fact, he believes that it was what some scribes considered “divine inspiration” that led them to alter the text, usually to try to “make it consistent.” (And yet, there are so many inconsistencies!)
Describing the Bible as “the Word of God” is a theological assumption, which is supported by circular logic. That it is so highly edited and altered tends to dispute that claim.
You write that “there is no one shred of empirical evidence substantiating their claim to know the mind of the redactor.” Well, then, the thing to do is be originalists. See what the scribes were thinking by what they added and what they took out. (The presumption is that simple transcription error is inadvertent, although occasionally significant.)
The fact is that, contrary to your claims, the mainstream critics of the new Testament do believe that there ar efacts about the historical Jesus, and their reading of those facts informs the judgments they make about what was original, about what Jesus said and didn’t say, about all sorts of matters.
Again, the historical fact is that certain Gospels, letters, Acts, and revelations were selected over others for theological reasons by the Christian sect that became the dominant one.
In early Christianity, there were numerous interpretations, some of which are no longer around, and yes, despite your denial, there was disagreement among the sects and between Peter and James, between some of their followers and Paul.
There was a theological struggle and a certain sect won. It did, in fact, aim to destroy the other sects, and largely succeeded in doing so.
Pagels is a scholar who has done excellent work on the Dead Sea Scrolls and on the Gospels that didn’t make it into the Bible as we know it.
You have done nothing to rebut the Jesus Seminar, except to say that one should pay no attention to them. This is standard-issue theological criticism, providing no evidence.
Your argument fails on numerous levels.
Quote: “That certainly isnt how textual criticism works. Its an attempt to get as close to the original work as we can an inherently theological enterprise.”
If this is what you identify as my fundamental error or oversight, we differ greatly, for getting as close to the original is a scientific, not a theological enterprise. Textual criticism makes no theological assumptions, it’s only concern is the text as such. Your misunderstanding flows from a fallacy of mixing categories, polluting as a consequence all your conclusions.
It’s easy for you to wrong my approach even when you seem to be unaware of the latest scholarly literature debunking themes you hold dear. I think it is more accurate to say that your universe of belief is shaking, and that you rather cling to its ruins than seeking He who is the Way, the Truth, and Life, just as he stated in the “unhistorical” Gospel of John.
We differ, but I think I’m much closer to the truth than you are and therefore, better off. Go on your way in peace.
You are not so close as you believe.
Textual criticism seeks to get at the original, as much as possible, not to do what you said it was doing.
There is a science to it. There are certain standards that are applied. But at its core, the reason to do so is inherently theological.
I have read your so-called debunkings. No substance to them, no evidence provided, merely theological assumptions of yours and your sources.
My belief is firm. It coheres. It makes sense.
I don't disagree with the the above.
There is a science to it. There are certain standards that are applied.
I know this perfectly well, I don't need to be lectured. As a professional document examiner, that's within my purview.
But at its core, the reason to do so is inherently theological.
If by that you mean that a Christian engages in textual criticism for love of the Scriptures and a need to understand what they say, sure, no problem. But if you mean that you approach textual criticism with a preconceived theological agenda, then no. You are wrong. For you will be vitiating the process and, I guarantee you, you will find what you set out to find in the first place.
The so-called "Jesus Seminar", for example, set out to find a Cynic wandering philosopher filled with pithy sayings who got embroiled in politics much to his detriment, and whose corpse was thrown into the common ditch after his execution. Guess what, they found it.
I have read your so-called debunkings. No substance to them, no evidence provided, merely theological assumptions of yours and your sources./i>
That's because I'm not writing a paper here; never intended nor will attempt to. This is not the forum. I simply provided an argument and a series of pointers that should have motivated you to expand your focus, open up your universe and, most importantly, DO YOUR HOMEWORK. For I will not do it for you.
My belief is firm. It coheres. It makes sense.
You've got that right: it is "belief," fed by partial information selectively collected.
If that makes you happy, be happy. But if you want to pass it as "the truth" keep it. I am not interested.
No, I don't think that was the agenda. I believe they were engaged in a scholarly examination of Jesus, based on the Biblical accounts and the other known accounts of his life, to see what looked to be genuine in these accounts and what looked to be "attributed." (One of Yogi Berra's phrases applies here: "I didn't really say all the things I said.")
This is similar to textual critics' approach, as they are trying to get at the core of Christianity and put aside the things laid upon it by others.
Now, to some extent, you can't do that without a worldview, but you try as best you can to put that aside and go where the evidence leads. (No human being can do it 100 percent.)
Again, One can hardly have a discussion without some substance to the views expressed. Simply asserting that people should beware of the Jesus Seminar or others because they're "wrong" achieves nothing. A brief analysis of why they're "wrong" would be helpful. Otherwise, you get stuck in a "did not, did too" loop.
"Because the Bible says so" is not sufficient reason to someone who has read critical analysis of the Bible and understands it to be a very human book, inspired though it may be. There has to be a reason that makes sense to those who don't necessarily take the Gospels as gospel.
I can show you how my worldview coheres together. Can you show me how your viewpoint coheres?