Living Water / Marjorie

I thought I’d post my thoughts on this passage since the comments on the previous post were getting lengthy.

Where was the Spirit before Jesus? Based on what I learned in my previous Bible study, the three parts of the trinity existed before creation. Where were Jesus and the Holy Spirit in Old Testament times? I’m not sure what the view is of Jesus, though I’ve heard it said that the pre-incarnate Jesus showed up at times as the “Angel of the Lord.” I mentioned this to my brother who is an Episcopal priest and he rolled his eyes, so I think there is a division of opinion on that matter. As to the Spirit, that was alive and well and at work. It was the Spirit that became the cloud and the pillar of fire that lead the Israelites through the desert.

Jesus offers the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit to those who believe in him. The Holy Spirit officially descended on the people at Pentacost — from that point on, all believers have it within them. The spirit within can be smothered by our own sins or egoism, but its always there. As to God within in the non-believer, I have no mind to argue it, but I’ve known enough “non-Christians” that have more God in them than professed Christians that I’m thinking ‘belief’ doesn’t mean ascribing to a particular creed formed centuries ago by church politicians.

I’ve made a lot of statements here, of course I don’t actually know any of these things. Many things I believe personally, while other statements merely reflect what I’ve been taught and I may not completely agree with them.

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11 responses

  1. Hi Marjorie. I remember reading once that some scholars thought of Jesus in the OT as “Wisdom”. …..Wisdom (sofia) is present at creation and has independent existence (Prov 8:22-23, Sir. 24:9), is the source of life (Prov 8:35), and of immortality (Wis 8:26). The Creator also assigns Wisdom a tent to dwell with Israel (Sir 24:8,10). The word eskhnwsen, translated as: “The Word became flesh and lived among us” (Jn 1:14) can also be translated “tabernacled”; alluding to the tent where the Hebrews worshipped God in the desert ……… this is from an articel, Analyses of Important Johannine Vocabulary – III.—THE FOURTH GOSPEL’S VIEW OF JESUS AS THE DESCENDING AND ASCENDING LOGOS by Dale Loepp

  2. Howdy Marjorie: I would ask your brother why the rolled eyes — it might bear some interesting fruit.Most of the Christian scriptures are attempts by 1st century Christians to reinterpret the Hebrew scriptures in the light of their faith and experience of Jesus Christ. For centuries your suggestion that Jesus was the Angel of the Lord (or another one — the One Like a Son of Man from Ezekiel and Daniel) would be standard Christian teaching.There is a concern for something called supersessionism. this si the teaching that Christians have replaced the Jews as “the people of God” — it is often blamed for antisemetism and so such interpretations are now kind of awkward for some folks since WWII.But if we want to affirm Trinitarianism I’m not sure how we can get around it.

  3. Thank you, Marjorie, for that good contribution. I wonder if your brother “rolled his eyes” for the same reason I did: because maybe he, like I, don’t consider the Bible to be all correct and proper so everying must fit together like the parts of a watch. Maybe he considers it to be a work of poetry, not trying for continuous consistency, but presenting images that we don’t need necessarily to fit together with everything that went before and after.Well, blessings. It’s near the end of the day for me: there’s only West Wing before bedtime.

  4. Ooo. West Wing. Haven’t been able to watch since mid-January — working nights. *sigh*

  5. Interesting…I hadn’t really thought about any of this — I’d just heard it and passed it along. I realize thats a dangerous thing and I’m very glad to have this forum to talk about it. Kwake, you have a very good point about supersessionism and Larry, that is probably why he rolled his eyes. When I spoke with him about the inerrantists, he points out that there are contradictions within the Bible. He also found it very interesting when he learned in seminary that Baptist teaching allows any single verse to stand on its own as truth (which is why there are so many homosexual hating “Christians”). From what I’ve sensed, the Episcopal church respects the Bible as wisdom, but also fears the way it gets twisted. The Episcopal priests I’ve known always seem to me to be a bit wary of Bible studies. But thats my view, I might be misunderstanding it.

  6. I can appreciate that wariness, Marjorie. In general the shape of the minister’s faith and his congregation’s faith is very different. What they learned in seminary they do not pass on to their people. Why? Too inflamatory. They don’t want to make waves. They want to retain their present position.Your brother sounds like a live wire. I would love to meet him.

  7. Hi Marjorie,I want to comment on a couple of your points, and add my quandry, too. You write, “The spirit within can be smothered by our own sins or egoism, but its always there.” I really feel this is true. My quandry continues with the passage that indicates that the spirit “descended” on the people at a certain time. Like Larry, I simply do not believe we would even be alive if it were not for the spirit, the very breath, within us. Second,I’d like to comment on this comment: ” I’ve known enough “non-Christians” that have more God in them than professed Christians that I’m thinking ‘belief’ doesn’t mean ascribing to a particular creed formed centuries ago by church politicians.” Wow – lots here to chat about. What I hear might be true for you is that you are able to see that of God more clearly in some who do not have the veil of layer upon layer of church teachings that cloud their true selves, and that Light possibly could, and sometimes does, emmanate more clearly without it. I might just be reading into your comment my own thinking in the matter. Then there is the word “belief”. I always aruge with myself a bit with this word. I ask, What is the difference between believing and knowing… Am I sure without a doubt? Or am I making an assumption I feel pretty sure about, as would be true with the word belief?

  8. the Episcopal church respects the Bible as wisdom, but also fears the way it gets twisted. The Episcopal priests I’ve known always seem to me to be a bit wary of Bible studies.Sounds like there wisdom in the Episcopal church. I also want to echo what Larry says about the divide between the clergy and the laity. The seminary professors were more radical than their studnets and the seminary students more radical than the sittin’ in the pew Christians. Being wary of Bible studies is a two edged sword. The bible study tehn becoems the tool of the out-group. More heat than light. More facts than wisdom. Each of us here needs to watch to make sure that doesn’t happen here. I appreciate what we have built here too much.

  9. A good discussion :-). Meredith brought up the difference between believing and knowing. There’s a slippery slope – whenever I think I know something, I try to remind myself to examine that “belief” (the belief that I “know”) … I guess there’s such a thing as “felt” knowledge but I try to remain skeptical because it’s seems sometimes that when people are sure they “know” the truth, they stop being open to other possibilities and instead concentrate on defending their position.And about what David and Larry said about the clergy – that they are more radical/skeptical than their congregations, but don’t share their views because they want to keep their positions … not so, I think. All the priests I’ve met speak/preach as they believe and let the chips fall where they may. I think they are less concerned with “keeping their jobs” than you would imagine and more concerned with sharing what they believe with those who care.

  10. I can’t speak for Catholic priests. But in the 2-3 Protestant congregations I have been a part of the minsiter has beens very aware of the potential for division there on theological grounds. The issue isn’t so much the minister being afraid of losing her/his job as being afraid the divison will destroy the congregation. People vote for the minister’s theology at the collection plate and so the clergy feel responsible if they can’t afford to keep the heat turned on!

  11. Well the priestly vocation is endlessly fascinating to many of us. I suspect the Catholic priests have a lot more job security than most others.Presbyterians are different; they cannot be fired. However George MacDonald, with his advanced theology was starved out.No minister who preaches and lives the complete gospel will be popular or even accepted in any church that I know. Such a person could only do what Paul did so often: “flee to the next town”.The misfortune of the Church is that the ministers are largely seduced to the materialistic standards that govern congregations.

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