Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Thoughts on 8x10 glossies

In the original heading of this blog, I tried to make a little joke about not knowing how to include personal photos in the blog yet. I said to remember that in the beginning was the Word, not an 8x10 glossy [Note: the heading was changed on Nov. 9, 2007.]

I was quoting from the gospel of John, chapter 1, verse 1, King James Version: "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God." The rest of the chapter makes it clear that John is talking about Jesus Christ. I really wasn't trying to be sacrilegious, but sometimes I just don't seem to be able to help myself.

Later, a little phrase popped into my head from the book of Hebrews, a little check in my spirit, and now I feel compelled to tell you that maybe, just maybe, I was wrong about the 8x10 glossy. Here are the opening verses of the book of Hebrews, again in the KJV (because I like the KJV):

1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

It's clear from the phrase "when he had by himself purged our sins" that this Son by whom God has spoken to us is Jesus Christ, the same Jesus Christ referred to as the Word in John's gospel. That six-word phrase in verse 3, "the express image of his person," sounds mighty like a photograph to me, so I looked at the Blue Letter Bible online, where you can see Bible passages in several English versions as well as the original languages of Hebrew and Greek (in the interest of full disclosure, I don't know very much about Hebrew and Greek).

The Greek word translated "express image," which is also translated "exact representation" in another version, turns out to be χαρακτηρ, charakter. Even I can see the word character. Jesus, then, is God's character revealed, the express image of his person, the exact representation of his nature. Jesus said as much to his friend Philip after Philip had said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and still you do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?" (John 14:8-9, English Standard Version)

So if we combine the truth of John 1:1 with that little nugget in Hebrews 1:3, we might even have to conclude, in a non-sacrilegious way, that in the beginning was the Word, and He was indeed an 8x10 glossy.

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