Inspiration is messy and very human precisely because it is divine.
This blog is named “Messy Inspirations,” and inspiration is indeed a messy business! Honestly, the world is messy too. Because of this, and because revelation or divine disclosure happens everywhere and always, we should expect it to be messy. Therefore, be happy messy people!
And God did not limit revelation to only the Catholic circle or Christian circle or even the monotheistic circle, thank God! Additionally, God did not limited revelation to only religious people or even human beings. Ultimately, God makes God present and self-discloses in all things.
But what does God reveal or disclose or communicate? God unveils or discloses or shares only one Reality—the Mystery called God. But this is an infinite disclosure. So we should happily expect diversity of interpretation and expression, including differences in understanding, without demonizing these or rejecting the Mystery outright because of difference. Amen, inspiration is messy!
The Bible and Inspiration
Inspiration isn’t words, words, words! Inspiration also doesn’t mean God necessarily desires a book or library to be written. Or that he dictates such a document. But look! We Christians have a whole library of books that constitutes our normative and inspired literature. We call it “the Word of God.” But please don’t mistake that to mean God’s only Word or God’s final Word on things. God reveals God’s self in all things. What does this mean?
Speaking as a Christian, first God is revealed in all creation. Creation spans far more than any human reality or writing. So revelation is broader than Scripture.
Yet even more intensely, God is displayed in the human experience. But since human experience is much more than any one people’s library, God’s revelation can’t be limited to only the Bible.
Then, we Christians believe, in the story of the people of God, Israel, God is disclosed ever clearer (again in a Christian theological perspective). But this is just one people, no matter how special, and God is not constrained by a single people.
Finally, we Christians believe, revelation happens unsurpassably in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. But no person, theology, age, culture, or mystic owns the patent on articulating Christ. So ultimately, what is revealed unsurpassably in Christ is still Holy and Absolute Mystery that can never be domesticated by words.
Hardwired for A Messy Inspiration
Inspiration is messy. God “hardwired” our nervous systems to experience God through over 35 alternate states of consciousness through the sacrament of evolution. And yet, visions (one of these states) don’t come with soundtracks. That’s true for Abraham, Moses, Jesus (fully human), Paul, John the Seer, and a host of other visionaries, biblical and extra-biblical.
So what provides the soundtrack? Their culturally informed brains, of course, interpreting their experiences. And who provides everything, including the brains and culture and all else? Existence itself does that. In other words, That which we call God. Yeah, in the beginning was the interpretation, and that’s okay. It makes inspired works messy, but that’s okay.
Here is a playlist for you: