Sunday, December 20, 2009

Roast Pork, Roads to Truth, and the Church

When a person feeds on physical food, it becomes part of the person. The pig cells of roast pork don't remain as such after having entered my body—no, they become Warren cells. This is the nature of physical feeding.

When the mind feeds on truth, it can do so in three ways: subjectively, objectively, and divinely. Subjective feeding on truth is akin to auto-cannibalism, if there is even such a thing. The person is the sole source, judge, and consumer of truth—with truth being a generation of the self. Of course, this is problematic, as it would only be a matter of time before the whole self is consumed and obliterated. Postmodernists and relativists really don't live out their subjectivity consistently. How can they if they are to survive?

Secondly, there is the objective feeding on truth. This is the mind making judgments on the outside world based on how and what it actually is, regardless of personal convenience. It sees that the various objects extrinsic to itself have independent existence and that the act of knowing is the recognition of this and the various properties that make existence possible. This is at the root of factual learning.

If the assimilation of food alters its structure as it becomes absorbed into the body, the subjective approach to truth actually erodes and degrades the self, while the objective approach adds information to the mind's body of knowledge without effecting changes to the nature of the soul. The third approach to truth, feeding on the divine, does precisely that—it leaves the soul, the total person, changed to the core. This is at the heart of the Lord Jesus Christ's declaration that "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). Everything inferior to man that comes into him is either transformed, is destructive of him, or leaves no remarkable residue. Only as man enters into God's truth is he radically altered, the finite embraced by the infinite, coming out of the transaction not as the same Dick, Harry, Jane, Sue or Warren—but more Christlike.

These divine transactions, the feeding on divine truth, come through the preaching of the Word, the administration of the Sacraments, corporate and private prayer, the ardent study of Scripture, and fellowship among the brethren. They are mediated—as would be the necessary case when the infinite engages the finite—through the church.

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