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Sun, Mar 01 2015 - 07:01 AM

Too Spiritual By Half?

In an exposition of Mark chapter 3, it was observed that Christ's first miracle after the commissioning of the Apostles was the casting out of a demon followed by the healing of Peter's mother-in-law.

The Lutheran seminarian insisted that this symbolically represented the precedence of the spirit over the human tendency to emphasize the body. The expositor lamented that such a characteristic was the result of the sin nature. But how is it our fault that the aspect of reality that is the fist to overwhelm our perception on an instinctive level is the physical?

We did not ask to exist as embodied intelligences. That was part of our original design even in the sinless state.

Unless the demon was cast out first of the person whose body Christ healed and He then had them wait in contemplation for a time before He healed their biological infirmity, isn't this reading too much into the passage?

If one wants to be that attentive to the text, the first miracle in the chapter is actually the bodily healing on the Sabbath of the man with the whithered hand. And what about taking the Four Gospels as a comprehensive totality?

If so, isn't the turning of water into wine at the wedding feast actually thought to be Christ's first miracle? So do we want to start reading meaning into these as well other than what we are told in the text?

The case could be made that, in terms of a miracle, turning water into wine would appeal more to man's extraneous physical desires than a desire to avoid overwhelming pain and disability.

You make a choice for wine; by design you feel a compulsion to seek the alleviation of pain.

Furthermore, are Lutherans really sure they want to open the door of reading profounder spiritual meaning into the miracles beyond the miracles themselves?

John 2:3 reads, “And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus said unto him, They have no wine.”

Since Christ ultimately relented to her request, why shouldn't we build detailed Christological speculations like one particular denomination does about how Christ's decisions are especially swayed by her contemplative petitions if we are going to read profound truths into something as commonplace as the order in which Christ performed these miracles?

If the definition of God's omniscience is that the Deity knows everything, wouldn't that also include alternative temporal potentialities?

Therefore, isn't it just as valid to conclude that, if Jesus went first to heal Peter's mother-in-law, Christ night not have gotten around to this particular demoniac before this pitied soul's life ended in some convulsive spasm?

Among Bible scholars and theologians, the Gospel of Mark is noted as summarative action oriented narrative.

Why would there need to be some esoteric reason as to the order in which the events described transpired other than that this was the order in which events “organically” unfolded around Jesus?

By Frederick Meekins

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About: Frederick Meekins is an independent theologian and social critic. His ministry is the Issachar Bible Church & Apologetics Research Institute.

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