The Bible, Metaphor, and the Peephole Effect

With these most recent posts, I’ve been trying to ask the question of what kind of text could best represent God? We could state this question in the opposite direction as well. Given that we think of the Bible, this specific text or set of texts, as inspired, what does that say about our understanding of the identity of God?

So far, I’ve tried to suggest that a sacred text would need to be porous to meaning. For something fixed, like a text, to represent a living God in a dynamic and moving world, it would have to not only capture or hold meaning, but also generate meaning. In other words, a text representing a living God would need to be able to speak again and again in different cultural settings.

Not all texts are designed to do this. Some texts are designed to foreclose on meaning, to make sure that no other interpretations are possible. Now, there are certain matters pertaining to God where this might be an advantageous use of a text. Some things we want to build a wall around and capture the meaning once and for all, and certain kinds of texts are good at that–legal texts, logic texts, theoretical texts, etc.

The Bible, however, possesses little of that kind of literature. The Bible is dominated by two types of texts–narrative and poetic.

About Mark Love

I am the Dean for the School of Theology and Ministry and Director of the Resource Center for Missional Leadership at Rochester College. Part of my job includes directing a master's degree in missional leadership, a situated learning degree. I am married to Donna and have a son, Josh Love, who is a practicing new monastic in Abilene, TX. With Donna, I have also inherited three great daughters and two amazing granddaughters.
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