You Have Heard It Said

The initial step for a soul to come to knowledge of God is contemplation of nature.

-Irenaeus (120-202)

For many modern (read: Western) Christians this statement might be shocking and offensive. Certainly creation has a role to play, but most often it is as a witness to those without Scripture or knowledge of Jesus. Since the Reformation, the written collection of texts we call the Bible has been understood as the starting point for knowledge about God.

I love Irenaeus! I think it is time for us to return to some of the ideas he had about what this Jesus movement was all about at a very early stage in its development. This is one of those ideas. Contemplating nature could also be described as experiencing the way that we relate to the world around us and the way it relates to us.

The idea that our own experience plays a role in our interpretation of the faith and/or Scripture makes a lot of people nervous. I would suggest that it has never been otherwise. The two commandments that Jesus cited to sum up the entire Law and Prophets were “Love God and Love your neighbor.” Jesus inextricably links the vertical and horizontal (as I believe the Old Testament does as well). Our relationship to the world around us relates directly to our relationship to God. There is no such thing as a personal private faith, because the way you treat the earth and other people directly impinges on your relationship to God.

Thanks Irenaeus!

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One thought on “You Have Heard It Said

  1. Steve Fortenberry

    Lucas,

    It was great to make a connection with you yesterday. I am glad you’re blogging.

    Steve Fortenberry

    Reply

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