“The darkness didn’t comprehend it”

“The darkness didn’t comprehend it” December 26, 2016

2125915359_911d1354bd_zI do not agree with N. T. Wright on “the new perspective on Paul,” but he has a published a fascinating reflection on John 1.  He particularly focuses on this theme:

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness didn’t comprehend it; the world was made through him and the world didn’t know him; he came to his own, and his own didn’t receive him.” (John 1:5, 10-11)

God gives His Word, but the world doesn’t understand it.  The Creator comes to the world that He made, but the world doesn’t recognize Him.  God comes to His people, but they reject Him.

In addition to reflecting on the paradoxes of unbelief, Wright gives some provocative thoughts about the Incarnation, culminating in an affirmation of the Lord’s Supper.

But notice his critique of liberal theology, relativism, and recent theological fads.  Notice too his shot against transgenderism!

After the jump, I get you started, but you have to follow the link to read it all, which is very much worth doing.

From N. T. Wright, Incomprehensible Word, Uncomprehending World: The Puzzle of Christmas – Opinion – ABC Religion & Ethics (Australian Broadcasting Corporation):

One of the greatest journalists of the last generation, Bernard Levin, described how, when he was a small boy, a great celebrity came to visit his school. The headmaster, perhaps wanting to impress, called the young Levin to the platform in front of the whole school.

The celebrity, perhaps wanting to be kind, asked the little boy what he’d had for breakfast. “Matzobrei,” replied Levin.

A typical central European Jewish dish, Matzobrei is made of eggs fried with matzo wafers, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Levin’s immigrant mother had continued to make it even after years of living in London. To him, it was a perfectly ordinary word for a perfectly ordinary meal.

But the celebrity, ignorant of such cuisine, thought he’d misheard. He repeated his question. Levin, now puzzled and anxious, gave the same answer. The celebrity looked concerned and glanced at the headmaster: What is this word he’s saying?

The headmaster, adopting a “there-there-little-man” tone, asked Levin once more what he had had for breakfast. Dismayed, not knowing what he’d done wrong, and wanting to burst into tears, the boy said once more the only answer he could honestly give: “Matzobrei.”

After an exchange of incredulous glances on the platform, the terrified little boy was sent back to his place. The incident was never referred to again, but to him it was a horrible ordeal.

A Jewish word spoken to an uncomprehending world; a child’s word spoken to uncomprehending adults; a word for a food of which others were unaware – it all feels very Johannine. “In the beginning was the Word … and the Word was made flesh” (John 1:1, 14). We are so used to that passage, the great cadences, the solemn but glad message of the Incarnation, that we risk skipping over the incomprehensibility, the oddness, the almost embarrassing strangeness of the Word:

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness didn’t comprehend it; the world was made through him and the world didn’t know him; he came to his own, and his own didn’t receive him.” (John 1:5, 10-11)

John is saying two things simultaneously in his prologue (two hundred things, actually, but I’ll concentrate on two): first, that the Incarnation of the eternal Word was the event for which the whole of creation had been waiting all along; second, that creation and even the people God were quite unready for this event. Jew and Gentile alike, upon hearing of this strange Word, cast anxious glances at one another, like the celebrity and the headmaster hearing a little boy telling the truth in a language they didn’t understand.

[Keep reading. . .]


Photo by Gareth Saunders, The Rt Revd Tom Wright with New Book, Creative Commons License.

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