Category Archives: Religion

Biblical Nuggets: Augustinian Hypothesis


Augustinian Hypothesis: The opinion of *Augustine that the current canonical order of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) is the actual chronological order in which they were composed.

Arthur G. Patzia;Anthony J. Petrotta. Pocket Dictionary of Biblical Studies (p. 17). Kindle Edition.

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Unclothed Christ to Clothe Us!


Ujjwal Rai
Ujjwal Rai

 

“Then the eyes of both of them opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” Genesis 3:7

In the course of time, I have realized that I never have a straight forward answer to people who inquire about my ethnicity. There is a shame somewhere in my heart of  not being like the ancestors – descending from the same bloodline. There are normally two things that I do in response: either I try to prove I am alike even though my profile is not or I hastily say that there is no such thing in order to deprecate the existence of ethnicity. If you weigh my both responses, you will find how strongly I struggle with the shame and want to cover up by any means. And distressingly, I am not alone! Whether you believer it or not, everyone struggles with a shame and ironically is capable of formulating new ways to cover it up just like me.

God never created us with a shame. But, as soon as Adam and Eve violated God’s command, “You may freely eat fruit from every tree of the orchard, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will surely die.” The Bible says, “..they knew they were naked.” It was not merely seeing each other naked and saying, oops! It was greatly intense and devastating, because they fell in the state where they never belonged to due to their rebellious act. (C.S. Lewis’ idea.) As a result, they started hiding from God when He visited them. They were absolutely ashamed of their poignant situation. His creation can live with dignity only with Him but now they were not with Him and so were we once.

Then what happened? They sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Here we can see their strong desire that resulted in active action to live with dignity again, however, sadly not the way God intended.  They acted out to cover their shame as though they can do it on their own, but they never realized the gravity of shame they had brought upon them.

Today, we, in fact, do the same thing what they did to cover our shame.  We sew fig leaves to make coverings for ourselves. We do so either by doing good works inside the church in order to feel good about ourselves and preserve our dignity or totally denouncing the existence of God, so that I may not feel shame of my lifestyle. However, the Bible makes it clear that either way is not going to help us at all! Then, is there any other way around at all?

Our God never wants to see us living with shame forever and knows, at the same time, that we can never restore ourselves to dignity. He, therefore, sent His son to restore us back to Him, so we can live with dignity. Now, we just need to put our faith in Jesus Christ who was stripped of his robe, became nude on the cross and whose shame was exposed to the whole world so that our shame is covered once but forever.

So the real question is: Do we want to believe in Christ and live with dignity or ever find ourselves in the shame treadmill? Choice is yours!

The author is a M.Div student in Calvin Theological Seminary. You may follow him in his Facebook page

Friday Phraseology: Anthropomorphism


Anthropomorphism: The human tendency to see other things as analogous to ourselves. Thus people sometimes see their pets in overly anthropomorphic terms. In *philosophy of religion, the term anthropomorphism is often used critically, to refer to views of God that make God seem too similar to finite human persons. Ludwig *Feuerbach claimed that all theology is anthropomorphic, since God is essentially a projection of unfulfilled human potential.


Evans, C. Stephen (2010-04-28). Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (p. 11). Intervarsity Press. Kindle Edition.

 

Grace for both, Found and Lost!


Ujjwal Rai
Ujjwal Rai

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10

Once I was lost for 3 hours in Kathmandu which is the capital city of Nepal. It isn’t even as crazily busiest as most other capital cities around the world. Since this incident, I rather shut my mouth from blurting before people that I was once lost when they talk about their first visit in the city. I reckon that to be pretty embarrassing to admit. Subsequently it can also raise a question at my basic knowledge of the city thus may jeopardize my whole identity as a knowledgeable or well-informed person. For this reason, I always discover different ways to get by in order to hide the story of being lost. I may feel what I am supposedly feeling inside but people may continually respect and accept me. This is my very propensity, and I am pretty convinced that I am not alone doing this!

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When a person says, “I have never been lost,” it must either mean that (s)he must have already been under Him and expected to constantly grow in the grace or totally deceived by his own lies and desperately in need of His grace.

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The Bible plainly affirms that the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). Yes, Jesus came to seek and save the lost, but as a matter of fact, “I have never been lost. Why then should I need him?”, says my deceitful heart. And maybe so does yours. The real problem is not to comprehend Jesus’ coming, but rather admitting that I am the lost. When a person says, “I have never been lost,” it must either mean that (s)he must have already been under Him and expected to constantly grow in the grace or totally deceived by his own lies and desperately in need of His grace. Honestly, being in the state of deception is not equated with being in the state of found.

Well, It is not bad at all to feel found because God has created us with the feeling of found, not with the lost. The feeling of found, however, can be experienced in its intended way and at fullness only in Him. Sin has separated us from God in such a way that we will never take the initiation to search Him to be found. Moreover, Paul says in Romans 10:3 that people have established their own ways to make them feel found without God. But their hearts know that he has, by any means or performance, not been found but the false sense of being found is merely an ostentation. His pretension of being found is an idle endeavor to convince self that he was never lost in the first place to be found later. Sadly, this erroneous thought reflected my own thinking too.

Conversely, the Son of Man – the title Luke borrowed from Daniel 7:13-14 for Jesus in his Gospel- helps us to understand who Christ indeed is. Despite his grandeur majesty, he chose to stoop down to us in order to help us see that we are not what we claim to be but a guilt-ridden creatures who have utterly fallen through. He also invited us to trust in him, because he is only our hope who alone can fix our broken fellowship with God. His agonizing outburst with excruciating pain: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46), was on our behalf so that we may be eternally found in Him!

All of us need the Son of Man whether we claim to be lost or found. Here is question for you and me: Do I want to knowingly believe in my false claim in order to feel found or do I want to believe in Christ so that I might be found in Him not only for this life but also for the life yet to come? If you are already found by his grace, are you seeking to grow even more in his grace or again discovering Christian ways of feeling found?

The author is a M.Div student in Calvin Theological Seminary. You may follow him in his Facebook page

Engagement with the Enterprise of Faith Seeking Understanding


The enterprise of Faith Seeking Understanding is the attempt to better understand and articulate the truths found in the scripture not going beyond the scripture. It is not merely an approach to turn our belief into knowledge but turning out faith-knowledge to understanding-knowledge.

It begins with God and his revelation. So we apply our reason to explain something that must be coherent with the teachings of the scripture. However, it has risks while using philosophy in religion. There could be potential different understandings between philosophers. Sometimes philosophical logic or reason can undermine our faith. But in order to understand the concept of loving God with mind, it can help us to grasp this idea.

Early christians and theologians were involved in the Faith Seeking Understanding enterprise to defend Christianity from the torrent attacks from the world. Justin martyr and Augustine of Hippo are two of those people who were influenced by Greek philosophy. Later, they used their Greek philosophical knowledge to articulate the christian truth effectively to the world.