Thursday, February 19, 2009

Did I miss something?

Somebody asked me today what I believed 'eternal life' means. I replied that whilst there could be one absolute answer, the response will vary. A Chinese businessman in KL earning zillions will not likely say the exact say thing that a leper in Calcutta will.

He said it's very clear from the Bible what 'eternal life' means - John 17:3, "To know God". I said whilst all may agree that's the Biblical answer, what 'knowing God' means is itself something which can be explored, applied and personally experienced in any number of (diverging) ways and perspectives.

He said he's not concerned about (human) opinions, view-points - he just wants to focus on what Jesus said. I replied that I believe Jesus would be very interested our personal response to the question and that the more important thing is to examine 'knowing God' in different contexts. I also said if you ask Paul, Moses, Noah, Job, James, etc. what 'knowing God' was all about, they'd give different answers which - whilst not contradicting each other and all having a discernible 'core' - could nevertheless sound very different.

He then said that Moses asked God to 'show him his glory' and that Paul counted 'all things as rubbish' when compared to knowing the glory of Christ i.e. there's a strong centering strain to 'knowing God' and it's best to focus on that (as opposed to looking at the divergences). I said I agreed there's an obvious commonality but if knowing God was an intensely personal thing then the personal (read: context-dependent) 'things' can't be ignored and in fact must come to the fore.

He ended the conversation. I thanked him for having it. Did I miss something? ;>)


Khin Wee said...

I'm sure, my learned friend, you are familiar with this quote: "There are no facts, only interpretations." -- Friedrich Nietzsche

Nice article. As always. KW

Alwyn said...

great quote, :)

I don't think, though, that many Christians would accept it. Too bad, because if only we realised that we needn't value the quote for its'truthfulness' as opposed to is 'usefulness' (for provocation, exploration, etc.)

Daddy Parenting Tips said...

When there are interpretations, it would only assert the fact that I EXIST to know and to decide. Yet, to know God, ultimately means I do not Want anything else except God. The fact that I resign to full surrender and full faith in God means that what I experience, think and learn is secondary to the knowledge that God is in control, God is supreme and God is ALL I NEED. Such broken spirit have more use to God than the many usefulness of our finite mind. If we think we can interprete, we may think that we have far more supreme rules than the 10 Commandments such that we should speak like the Pharisees do and introduce all kinds of earthly devices in the church. But, God yearns that we seek Him in full faith every moment in our lives by surrendering our need to interprete and be creative.