Monday, December 17, 2007

Encountering the Word of God

So lately I posted on the folly of Protestantism and its use of sola scriptura. On that note, I’d like to start a series of posts on the Word of God. First let me begin by saying that the Word of God is not simply a nice little book that we can pick up whenever – but is rather a Person Who has the power to change your life! I first encountered God’s Word shortly after my birth. It was at my baptism. At that point, I was born again as a son of God in the One and only begotten Son. This Son I speak of is also called the Word of God. It was this Word which emptied Himself, becoming like us to redeem us and raise us up as the children of the living God. This Word baptized me with fire, transforming me through the power of His Spirit. Now that’s what I call an encounter with the Word of God!

[Note: Christians of all centuries believed in baptismal regeneration. Most fundamentalist Christians today see the sinner’s confession of faith as the moment of rebirth, the “born again” experience. It was St. Peter himself who said: “baptism now saves you” (1 Peter 3:21). Infant baptism is especially historic. Just as circumcision was given to infant males in the Old Covenant, baptism is given to infants in the New. For the early Christians, the question was not over whether or not to baptize infants but whether or not they had to wait until the eighth day as was the custom for circumcision with the Jews! By the way, the eighth day was a symbol of eternity and salvation – Sunday in the New Covenant has become the eighth day, not the first day, and most baptismal fonts come with eight sides. Oh yeah, and how many people were saved through water in the days of Noah? See 1 Peter 3 for more!]

It was through the Word that all creation came to be. In Trinitarian theology, we would say that God the Father spoke the words of creation through the Son, whose words were carried forth upon the breath of the Spirit. I like to think of the three great miracles of creation: 1) that things exist at all; 2) that what exists is ordered and makes sense; and 3) that of the ordered things there exists life. To the first we attribute the work of the Father, creator of heaven and earth. In the second case we have God the Son, the Word of God, Who orders the things God the Father brought into being. Lastly we find ourselves before the Holy Spirit, who is the “giver of life” according to the Nicene-Constantinoplian Creed (which we usually just call the “Nicene Creed”).

Okay, so I’ve mentioned the Trinity – but what makes the Word of God, that is, God the Son, so central? Sin. Sin causes disorder, the breaking down of the fabric of creation. Since it was through the Word of God that order was created, it would be through this Word that order will be restored! What’s more, sin is not simply a human thing. Angels sinned first. By the way, this makes matter inherently good and the spirit quite dangerous. People today have it totally backwards when they condemn their “wicked” bodies or despise their emotions and desires – these things are only twisted by sin, which is fundamentally a spiritual affliction which enters into the realm of matter through our bodies.

What we see in Christ is not only a battle fought to redeem mankind of its sins, but the cosmic battle against evil itself pouring over into our physical realm. God could have given the knockout blow to Satan before ever coming to Earth to redeem man – but He chose instead to wage His spiritual war through His physical body! It is this body that we were baptized into and it is this body that we partake of, and are transformed by, when we receive the Eucharist.

Catholics do not reject scripture as the “Word of God” – we just define the term in a bigger, more cosmic way. In fact, everything is bigger and more cosmic when you’re Catholic. When you become Catholic you can never look at the world the same way again!

More to come!

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