3.4.09

Jesus as epistomological starting point

Can Human Reason defend the faith?

I am quite Barthian in that I believe everything starts with Jesus. God is over and above reason and science and rationale. I loved reading Justin Martyr who, in chapter 54: The origin of Heathen Mythology in THE FIRST APOLOGY OF JUSTIN, described how all the things that man-kind has ever expressed to know have their origin in Wisdom, Logos: the pre-existent Christ, it's just that humanity has not for most of time and history been able to understand from where their knowledge has its origins and it has become twisted by sinfulness.

Now some of the task of apologetics in proclaiming the Good News to people involves working with facts, history, reason - man's ways of ordering and understanding his world. Of course, these things will always fail to convince and indeed no-one can be convinced to believe. Faith works with something different but perhaps something not altogether opposed to reason, just different, nevertheless.

Perhaps unlike Barth, we are not to feel overly worried about our apologetic method. Even Jesus met the sceptic half way, presenting facts. He met with Thomas the doubter (John, chapter 20) with such grace. As a people involved in apologetics, we can meet the skeptic half-way. Jesus met Thomas thus - touch my wounds he offered. Thomas doubted, we will too. The historical task is a little like Jesus in his engaging with Thomas where he was at. We need to meet people where they are at and welcome their questions and allow for our own questioning too. Jesus allows for it and provides for it.

If we meet the resurrection with a renewed sense of wonder this Easter, we should ask Jesus to show us afresh the wounds in his hands so that we might understand anew the real fleshiness of his suffering and resurrection and therein understand all the better our own.

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

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