This is a short piece I’ve been meditating on, and wrestling with:
Our Lord had no design of constructing a system of truth in intellectual forms. The truth of the moment in its relation to him, The Truth, was what he spoke. He spoke out of a region of realities which he knew could only be suggested—not represented—in the forms of intellect and speech. With vivid flashes of life and truth his words invade our darkness, rousing us with sharp stings of light to will our awaking, to arise from the dead and cry for the light which he can give, not in the lightning of words only, but in indwelling presence and power.
How, then, must the truth fare with those who, having neither glow nor insight, will build intellectual systems upon the words of our Lord, or of his disciples? A little child would better understand Plato than they St Paul. The meaning in those great hearts who knew our Lord is too great to enter theirs. The sense they find in the words must be a sense small enough to pass through their narrow doors. And if mere words, without the interpreting sympathy, may mean, as they may, almost anything the receiver will or can attribute to them, how shall the man, bent at best on the salvation of his own soul, understand, for instance, the meaning of that apostle who was ready to encounter banishment itself from the presence of Christ, that the beloved brethren of his nation might enter in? To men who are not simple, simple words are the most inexplicable of riddles.
[George MacDonald, unwritten sermons I: “I shall not be forgiven”, p 24 of this link]
Truth, with a capital T, is not mere information. Salvation is not some mystical change in some ‘book of life’ where a box is unchecked that says ‘send to hell’. Those views never made much sense to me, but more and more I start to realise that if salvation is not a real change in our lives, a real healing of our relationship with God, our fellow humans and all of creation, it does not mean a thing at all. It would make no sense to spend an eternity with a God if we don’t care to know Him… He is the ultimate reality, and it’s about knowing Him, not knowing information about Him… which may also end up in something that can be considered ‘mystical’, but not in the pejorative way I used the world earlier in this paragraph…
Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life, and more real than we can realise. The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Why would God then ever be impressed with our theology systems and our ‘cathedrals of thought’? If it does not draw us towards knowing the real living God, (no knowing about Him) it’s all useless, less than nothings…