Human words matter

A Father-King sent his firstborn son to the world. The son dies on behalf of humans, only to rise again from death and return to his celestial glory. Sounds familiar? Well, it’s not the story of a certain Nazarene, but of Thor, at least according to its 2011 cinematic adaptation and of course I only tells you the similar bits. They are starkly different, naturally, but the point remains. Religions and sects like to emphasize their distinctives in respect with other religions, but I guess in the end we need to admit that many stories in our Bible (particularly, the Old Testament) are similar to the religious literature in their respective socio-cultural milieu.

It is not the matter of a fight between liberal parallelomania and fundamentalist parallelophobia. It is the matter of being honest with the text and acknowledging that the prophets and the apostles, too, lived in their own age and culture. Barth commented that we should not be ashamed if we find similarities between our Bible and some ancient Near Eastern texts. In fact, we should expect it. The Bible is the Word of God in human words. And human words matter.

So it is not the matter of trying to argue that our Bible is the most unique book on earth. It is the matter of acknowledging that the power of God is made perfect in weakness, that we have this treasure in the jars of clay. Indeed, I do think this practice persists until today. Are we not fond of baptizing whatever secular or religious notions around us and then claiming it Christian?


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