Understanding "In Christ" and "Christ in Us"
The Inaugural Essay gave an outline of the Symbiotic Thesis, which states that what is known as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer at conversion constitutes, in reality, the forming of a symbiotic relationship where the Holy Spirit (Deus) lives within the human (Homo) host, in a permanent, intimate, and potentially beneficial union. The implications of this are so great that more scriptural support for it is necessary so that unbelief gives way to faith, and from there to action. While writing those supporting essays, I kept running into the problem of inconsistent word usage by the Apostles (Disciples+Paul) that made it more difficult to establish the thesis and explore its consequences. I will discuss the main problem in this essay and propose a resolution that, frankly, I did not expect myself. If you have not read the Inaugural Essay, go do it. Now. This essay will make no sense if read apart from that one. I mean it.
As mentioned in the Inaugural Essay, I believe that one must take special care when it comes to handling the Scriptures. All modernists critical of the Bible always use the Output of Science to focus on (seeming) conflicts between Science and the Bible, mostly with the intent of debunking the latter. In short, Science is used as a microscope under which the Bible is placed. In contrast, this website uses the Bible as Science and Engineering INPUTS to the scientific and engineering methods being employed: the Bible becomes part of the optics of the microscope under which the human condition is placed. I take the position that the Bible, being true, has the same status as the constants in the CRC Handbook, and need to be treated as axiomatic. Certainly some interpretation is required due to differences in vocabulary between our day and that of the first century, and we are dealing with the tax collectors, revolutionists, and fishermen of the ancient world, but such interpretation would be indistinguishable from the selection process that judges which constants and which mathematical methods to employ when attacking an engineering problem.
Thus, if I find a passage that seems critical of the Symbiotic thesis, I have to take it seriously, analyze it more closely, and deal with the seeming discrepancy. I have found that an honest effort yields fresh insights, as well as reconciling the verse to the thesis. The more of these there are, the stronger the thesis becomes, especially if a simple re-interpretation, a different way of looking at the text, is all that is required.
Consider the following text, which comes from Ephesians 3:
14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Now, this passage is fairly straightforward sounding: the bolded text states that it is Christ that dwells in our hearts by faith. However, the text with the grey backgound in verse 16 that precedes it is also a straightforward statement that needs hardly any interpretation if we view it in light of Symbiosis. The only way to evade the implication is to damn it by calling it a proof text, implying that anyone trying to take it literally is a clueless amateur unable to really extract the "nuances" of this verse that only those privileged ones who have a Theology degree are capable of doing. The "proof" is the fact that I am interpreting the text as if it actually meant exactly what it says. In support, the Theology degree-holding "geniuses" (of the modernist persuasion) will cite the bolded text in verse 17 and point out that that proves that this entire passage is metaphorical. Jesus Christ is clearly "That Christ" in verse 17. How can it be said that Jesus dwells in us when he came in the flesh (bodily and physically) and later ascended to heaven? Thus, these geniuses tell us that verses 18 and 19 are to be understood metaphorically, not literally, and are "really" an appeal by Paul for us to participate in Christian brotherhood, and that's all there is to that verse. Shut up and listen to your betters!
In short, when we encounter phrases that imply that we are "in Christ" or that "Christ is in us", it is being recommanded that they be interpreted metaphorically, which means only part of the passages apply. The problem now becomes who is qualified to determine which parts of the metaphor really apply, and which are "incidental".
All Pages Next Page
Pg-1 Pg-2 Pg-3 Pg-4 Pg-5
Leave Feedback for This Page