On two plagues: Bishop N. T. Wright & Albert Camus

On two plagues: Bishop N. T. Wright and Albert Camus.

Bishop N. T. Wright has written a challenging book about Covid, titled God and the Pandemic.  It’s challenging because it requires us to rethink God.  We tend to think of God, if we think of him at all, as all powerful, able to fix Covid in a moment if he wished, as Jesus healed the sick and the lame.  So why doesn’t he? 

Wright’s answer, though it takes a while to figure it out, is similar to that finally arrived at in several places in the Bible.  God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).  Job comes to a similar conclusion.  The best way to understand God in the face of Covid is to accept that we shall never understand.

Wright does not stop here, however.  He says that God’s non-answer is really an answer.  God is a God of suffering and lamentation.  Until we understand that God is not a mighty warrior who exists to vanquish our enemies, we shall be lost.  Consider what Jesus first did when he learned of the death of Lazarus.  “Jesus wept,” the shortest sentence in the Bible (John 11:35).  Consider Jesus hanging on the cross, crying out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34) 

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Jefferson’s Bible and the Old Testament

Jefferson’s Bible and the Old Testament

Thomas Jefferson edited an abridged version of the Gospels.  Using razor and paste, he eliminated all those passages in the Gospels that referred to the miracles of Jesus.  He removed the resurrection, as well as those portions of the Gospels that imply that Jesus was divine.  Or at least this is how Jefferson’s Bible, formally known as The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth (1820), is often described: as a Bible in which Jesus becomes a human teacher and exemplar of the highest morality.  But that interpretation is wrong.

if you read Jefferson’s Bible (a PDF is available online) there are countless references to God the father, and Jesus as the son of God.  Heaven and Hell remain, and Jesus refers twice to the second coming (Matthew 24:36-41; Mark 13:32-33).  Angels remain (Matthew 16:27), sinners burn in hell, and one small miracle finds its way in (John 18:6). 

Jefferson restricts his Bible to the story of Jesus, but because Jesus is always talking about his filial relationship with the father, there is no way to remove these references without removing Jesus.  It matters not whether you were born to a virgin; if you are a son of God, then you are no mere mortal.  If your authority stems from your status as son of God, then yours is supernatural authority.  See, for example, Luke 12:40, Matthew 13:37; Luke 9:58; Luke 17:26-27; Matthew 9:13.*

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