Fascination with wickedness obscures what is good, and roving desire perverts the innocent mind.
Wisdom of Solomon 4:12

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Orthodoxy and the Bible

The Bible is much more than a single book; it is a sacred library containing a collection of books divided into two main parts. The first part of this library is the Old Testament, written to by Israel to Israel in order to prepare them for the coming of God into the world as a man (Christ). Its content deals with the fragmented condition of humanity due to Adam’s freewill choice to live separate from God who is their source of life, and humanity’s journey back to union with God by way of a new Adam.

The Old Testament has various major themes:
1.     Adam and his exile from paradise (as experienced in vespers),
2.     Preparation for a new Adam who will bring humanity back from exile to paradise (as experienced in matins).
3.     Events that are examples of the future life of humanity in paradise (Moses ascent up the holy mountain[1]).
The second part of this library is the New Testament, written by the Church to the Church in order to reveal that God has come into the world as a man in Christ, and has saved the world. As such, the Bible is primarily a guide for those in the Church to enter into Christ’s salvation.

The New Testament has various major themes:
1.     God the Word comes into exiled humanity by assuming flesh- the new Adam (incarnation).
2.     God the Word destroys sin and death – The new Adam recapitulates all things (crucifixion, resurrection and ascension).
3.     God the Word brings humanity back into paradise the faithful – the new Adam is the Savior King (life in the Church).
4.     God the Spirit provides his own energies to help bring about the recovery of humanity (by illuminating, purifying, and deifying to Christ-likeness).

The whole bible contains pieces that comprise a mosaic of the God man, Jesus Christ, who creates, preserves, and restores all things to Himself. The Bible is the written Word of God made up of human words inspired (lit. exhaled) by God Himself, and is without error or contradiction regarding the relationship between God and creation. One of the Bible’s authors, the apostle Paul, tells us that the Bible is the genuine Word of God for those who he calls “the people (man) of God”. Jesus Christ abides in His Church by the Holy Spirit and opens human minds to understand the Bible (Jn 14.26, 16:13). The same apostle Paul contends that when the bible is read by those outside the One Church, a “veil” hides its true meaning from them “because only through Christ is it taken away” (2 Cor 3:14). 

[1] St. Gregory of Nyssa, The Life of Moses

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