The Golden Spirit – Part 1

I was talking with President Eaton the other day and he told me that if people are going to read my blog, it should at least follow the “principles of writing.” He didn’t expand much on this other than telling me to write less or else my readers will wane. SOOOO, I split this post up into two sections in the hope that it doesn’t look so daunting. I’ve got a lot to say, but I want people to read it, and this seems to be the only remedy I could think of. Here’s to you, Phil.

*…march 12…*

“The hearing of the Word of God the Creator, which makes human life to become Christian life, is not man’s work but God’s: the Holy Spirit’s work. Just as our spirit cannot produce the Word of God, so too it cannot receive it. Of course, our spirit is able to hear Bible texts, or some biblical theology, whether homemade or a foreign import, or the voice of its own or a stranger’s experience of life. But it is incapable, unassisted, of hearing God’s Word. He might, or course, always hear something, and he always supposes that he hears something in what has been said by God to him – something that he can make a start with, call it, if you like, a view of the universe according to his particular penchant, whether conservative or revolutionary. On the basis of this he fancies he has inside information about himself and can thus direct and control both his own and others’ lives. And just then – and the neater, the more confirmed, the more practical, the more “Christian “ this program of his turns out well – all the more surely he missed the Word of the Creator.” – Karl Barth, The Holy Spirit and the Christian Life

Professor Bantum was gracious enough to have us over at his house today to have our final class discussion over donuts, bagels, and coffee. After frivolous discussion (though tinted with the occasional interplay of seriousness) we finally moved on to our assignment for the day, which was to converse over this last book written by Barth. And what a revolutionary talk we had.

I posed the question I’ve been wrestling with lately about how difficult it is for me, and I’m sure for many people, in discerning whether or not words spoken by other Christians are genuine truths or unfortunate falsities. The passage above seemed to expand on my questioning, but after reading a couple pages further I never seemed to find the answer I was looking for. Barth’s quite good at doing this. However, he provided additional insight here, which expanded my thoughts even further:

“How should anyone who is intoxicated with his own ideas grasp the saying in Ecclesiastes, ‘Everything has its time’ – a saying that has bearing upon those forces which do not act according to human choice and caprice, not in line with the wise choice of Hercules at the crossroads, but according to the secret but true and righteous decision of God? How should such as he comprehend that every ‘moral view of the universe’ smacks of human vanity and not of divine truth? Comprehension: should not that mean hearing God’s Word, hearing God himself? For such comprehension, even that continuity with God, that ability to take in God’s Word, must be his own; yet is not his own possession, but it must simply be conveyed to him all along. A sheer miracle must happen to him, a second miracle in addition to the miracle of his own existence, if his life shall be a true Christian life, which is a life within the hearing of God’s Word. This miracle is the office of the Holy Spirit.”

I’m a bit sick of this whole questioning phase as I feel it’s led me nowhere other than to the gates of skepticism. I think I’ve finally found an answer, though – at least somewhat. I think the Holy Spirit has been credited very little within the Christian faith I’ve begun to assume for myself. Little do I think of His presence in my life, let alone the power He holds in sanctifying who I’m slowly becoming. It’s beginning to make a little more sense as the Spirit seems to be an entity who’s defining my life in a light that I’ve never viewed Him in.  I think in what Barth’s saying, the Spirit is truly what allows us to interpret the Bible through the eyes that God wishes or at least through the eyes that we can know it truthfully. And if this is true, I suppose it also means that even if we are filled with the Holy Spirit, it’s a matter of listening and understanding Him instead of following our own intuition for interpretation. I suppose prayer while reading the Bible is a lot more crucial than I first anticipated.


~ by Chris Kyle on March 13, 2010.

2 Responses to “The Golden Spirit – Part 1”

  1. i like how casually you mention your chat with phil dawg.

    also, i like these thoughts about the Spirit. i’m not a Calvinist, but i think they emphasize an important point: that our salvation is, simply put, a gift, and we misjudge our own involvement in our salvation far too generously. we RESPOND to God’s initiation. and by trying to do things–anything–by the flesh, we stop holding our hands out to receive what we need from the Lord. even something as basic as hearing God’s Word, truly hearing it, is something we can’t do by human discipline, but by asking the Spirit and then waiting to receive.

    this is great but difficult news for control freaks like me…

    • Fellow control freak here, equally awed, troubled and inspired by the severe limitations that my own fallenness brings. Horray for the Spirit of truth! Gotta open those hands and give up control and get our heads in the game!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: