Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Truth and meaning...

Chris Tilling recently wrote "However, while we may agree on certain propositions being true, what matters is what they mean."

Which is an excellent point. A Biblical example for me is Malachi 3:6 "I the Lord do not change..." This is a very clear proposition straight from the mouth of God on what God's nature is. But what does it mean? Does it mean that God never does anything, as any action is a change from inaction surely? But that cannot be right, see Genesis 2:2 for example. Does it mean that God cannot change his mind because he sees all things, including the future, and therefor his mind has always been made up because he was always going to do what he was always going to do? This is often the argument made from this verse in relation to open theology. But if we read the verse in context (shock horror) we find that God is not talking about either of those but God's own propensity to show mercy to Israel: "... and so you the descendents of Jacob, are not yet completely lost."

So the proposition that God does not change is true
But what it means is that God continues to show mercy to his people when they repent: "Turn back to me and I will turn to you." (Mal 3:7)


  1. Hi Jonathon, do you think we are better off today with the 'study aids' we have? I sometimes think it would be nice to just read Scripture without wondering if there is something I am missing.

    ps glad I found your blog :D

  2. hi george, welcome :)
    Yes and no. There is an aweful lot of good stuff out there, which as people reading documents thousands of years old we do need. The problem is the amount of rubbish out there too, and our desire for instant gratification, we always want to know what it means before we have even taken the time to see what it says. Personally I hate study Bibles for exactly that reason, they discourage reading what scripture says and cause us to jump out at every difficult verse for a caption which tells us what to believe... grrrr.