Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Revelation or Testemony?

Which concept better describes the Bible? For me, "revelation" evokes the qualities of eternal, timeless, objective, fixed, and abstract. "Testimony" on the other hand evokes the qaulities of past, involved, and presently relevant.

I have been pondering the notion of testimony lately, not just in regard to historiography, but also in regard to the picture we have of the Bible and what we should use it for. I think that it is time we reclaimed the 'Old and New Testaments' as testaments, that is, we see them as giving witness to God and his people. It witnesses to God's actions, peoples responses, his overarching plan for creation and our place within that plan.

For me, history is our playing field, and it only makes sense that any knowledge worth our knowing will be concerned with history and not those things that do not intersect with it. Of course the God of the Bible is not the God of the philososhers, he is not the uninvolved Deist God that reasoning produces. No, the God of the Bible is seen and understood because he does get involved in his creation, deeply involved. We do not have knowledge about God because he has given us a textbook, but because we have testimony to his past involvement (both words and actions) in which we can see what he is like. The Bible is not eternal and timeless, rather it developed over time. It is not objective or abstract, but embodies human perspectives as testimony and witnesses to historical happenings.

I think that the concept of "revelation" is unhelpful, atleast for me. Testament is far more accurate.


Sean du Toit said...

Why does it have to be either or? When not both/and. Of course scripture is a testimony, but it also reveals stuff. So I think argue both, but put your emphasis on testimony as a neglected aspect of it all.

See you in one month: dawg...

Michael F. Bird said...

I'm with Sean. The Bible is not merely but the testimony to God's revelation in history but also comprises the divinely given interpration of what God's actions in history mean! Also, what about Rev. 1.1 - 'The revelation of Jesus Christ'.

eddie said...

my complaint is that discussions of revelation have been so abstract and philosophical.

Sean du Toit said...

Then by all means, ground the discussion in "testimony" which links it more to the past and the present and thus anchors the philosophy not in the brisk air of abstraction but in the rock of his-story.