Parallax Views

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Siloam, Mar 29, 2015.

  1. I spend a lot of time in contemplation.

    In the past few years, a ‘shape’ has occupied an appreciable amount of my thoughts. I have not the skill to make the shape, although I can describe how it may be done, nor the skill to produce a proper drawing. I haven’t an original thought in my head. I got the Idea from the cover of book (Gödel Escher Bach by Douglas Hofstadter). On that cover, there is the picture of two shapes carved from wood. The silhouette of these shapes cast a different shadow from each of three directions, forming G for Gödel, E for Escher, and B for Bach. This is to depict the unity as well as the separateness of Mathematics of Gödel and the Graphics of Escher and the music of Bach.

    I always thought of a shape representing the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the same way. It could be F & S & H, or a Crown, a Cross, and a Dove. The purpose of this sculpture would be to represent the distinctiveness of the three persons of God, at the same time representing the unity of the whole.

    One can look at the sculpture I described and see different things from different angles, while the whole can only be inferred.

    A second meditation is the man in the mirror, meaning myself. Socrates said that an unexamined life is not worth living. I think Christians would do well to consider this truth. I have been meditating on the thought that my most critical assessment needs to be done when looking in the mirror. Honest self assessment is, to me, so central to improvement in the Eyes of the Lord. I am minded that honesty does not require self loathing. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves, but if we do not know how to love ourselves, how may we then love each other? This love needs to be for our spiritual needs, not necessarily our desires.

    Putting these two meditations together provides a context for discussions on venues such as this one, where many with different viewpoints see the same Lord from varying angles. For reasons that I will not go into here, I have not been faithful enough to commit to a single church family for several years, although I have attended services. In the past, I have found that attending a believing church, even when they have markedly different view of the scriptures than has produced an approach that concentrates on areas of agreement. There is a central core, that of Christ crucified and risen, through which we are made part of His kingdom. Beyond that there are many differences, many of these differences stem from which different views on the meaning of scripture, and each have come to their views as the HS has led them.

    I am truly interested in hearing how others perceive Him. I find a parallax view very enlightening and edifying. But many seem intent on removing the mote from the eye of others. There are cries of ‘false teaching’ whenever someone posts something that does not reflect the views another wishes to put forward. It is interesting that the term is always pointed at the other viewpoint.

    Someone once said that when you point your index finger at another, three fingers point back at you. Of course that applies to myself also, and I maybe I cannot post this without being a hypocrite, but I really want to explore views other than those that may align closely with my own.

    Getting back to my first thought, that of the cube that appears different in profile from each of three directions:

    Imaging the ‘G-E-B’ cube, as opposed to the ‘Trinity’ cube

    Suppose there were three observers attempting to gain a clear, complete and correct understanding of that shape by looking at the shadows it casts.

    Observer G can only see the ‘G’ shaped shadow.

    Observer E can only see the ‘E’ shaped shadow.

    Observer B can only see the ‘B’ shaped shadow.

    Observer G (here called OG) remarks on the beautiful curves that connect the top with the sides, and again the curves that connect the sides with the bottom. OG compares these curves to segments of an ellipse and finds great beauty in that description.

    Observer E (here called OE) says that OG’s view is obviously fallacious because the shadow is wholly composed of sharp edged straight sided parts that join in sharp right-angles. He then marvels at the straightness of these lines and the rightness of the angles.

    OG then states that he can see several straight components and some sharp angled edges on one side, but still holds that the overall shape is best understood by comparing it to an ellipse.

    Observer B (of course called OB) tries to mediate saying that his observations show that there are both straight edges/sharp corners and beautifully curved parts.

    The problem here is not with any observer but the failure of them to combine their views in cooperation to perceive a greater understanding of the central object that is only indirectly observed.

    Of course this is a made-up illustration (But I would like to be able to construct the Father/Son/Holy Spirit cube). The analogy breaks down fairly quickly, if you tug at it, but that is the nature of analogies: they may illustrate a concept, but usually there are sharp limits to the truths that can be extracted thus.

    I am using this site as one tool of self examination. I am thankful for disagreements in love. I need the challenge of having my thoughts critiqued by my brothers. I may receive pleasure when my thoughts are affirmed, particularly when it is from an angle I had not considered. But my prime purpose is to come to a better understanding of contrasting points of view.

    This is not an attempt at some kind of lukewarm ecumenical stance. The differences in doctrine are real. The differences in doctrine are important.

    I know why my first church after I accepted the Lord baptized me by immersion, and only baptizes those that have reached the maturity to make a faith decision. I know why protestant churches have an empty cross to signify a risen Lord, rather than a Crucifix signifying a perpetually crucified Savior.

    I have a layman’s understanding of the differences between the various views of the Lord’s Supper and I am not about to go looking for another understanding. But I gained these views at the proverbial knee of my church. I am sure that their explanations would be deemed correct by adherents of alternate views.

    My primary purpose here is not to convince anybody of anything, but I believe the best way to address misinformation is with true information. If the truth is understood, the false will wither.

    I have an understanding of the importance of words and know that there are some ‘Christian’ denominations that deny the trinity but will use the same words to say completely different things.

    If I were hosting a Bible study, I would take stronger views, and challenge those I felt were mishandling scripture. When I was a Sunday school teacher, I made sure that I reflected the teaching of that church, which was not a stretch. If I were a church leader, or a Pastor, I would make sure that the Church’s theology reflected scripture, and that teaching received from that church was in line with that defined theology.

    I can be blessed by the teachings of Charles Spurgeon. I can also be blessed with the teachings of Karl Barth, and comparing both of those with the scriptures.

    I will leave you with one more analogy.

    Many times, the differences in theology stems from discerning which Biblical passages are descriptive, and which are definitive.

    To illustrate the difference, I’ll use a book on my shelf called “Gray’s Anatomy”. It describes, but does not define the human body.

    For my purposes, it is authoritative. I know of nowhere in that book that provides patently false information (although I recognize that medical research is continually in motion).

    I have no problem agreeing that it is a detailed description of its subject. If one were to consider this book to be definitive, then I cannot be considered human. I was born with several things at variance (an extra tooth, a few other things). Since my birth, I have been surgically altered. I have had the removal of my thyroid, I have had the blood vessels around my heart rerouted, and a few years ago I had further modifications without which I would, without the Lord’s intercession be deceased.

    The Bible contains a lot of examples, from which we extract the truths they exemplify. The Bible also contains direct statements, but none of them exist separately from the rest of the text. However one passage is perceived, its proper interpretation cannot invalidate the proper interpretation of another. Much ink has been used expounding on how one passage comments on another.
  2. I hesitate to respond, but you asked for different views. One thing that has been of interest to me has been this verse -
    Exodus 20:4 You are not to make for yourselves a carved image or any kind of representation of anything in heaven above, on the earth beneath or in the water below the shoreline.

    And to what extent we as believers are to heed it?

    I'm sure some believers will say something to the effect that the old testament(first testament) is done away with, or that we are beyond the first testament law; or something about grace is all we need. But my question would be why is so very much of the new testament(second) quoting the first?

    Also the bible mentions a great many times, "follow(keep) my commandments". Even Jesus mentions this three times - here is one -
    John 15:10
    If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

    So, have I become hyper sensitive to man made objects depicting images? Or am I justified in this?

    Also, I'm not a teacher, but merely a student.
  3. I see the word of God as simply a map to Jesus. No matter where you are, what you believe, how you think, what education level you have, what height of intellect, or the simplest of mind, you find Jesus if you're open to where the word of God takes you. The one who has a desire for the truth will find it, but they have to be willing to let go of what they believe. Denominational beliefs are the strongmen most Christians have to overcome, and limited understanding of science is the strongman scientists have to overcome, and experiential judgement is the strongman for the simple minded. Each and every one of us has to decide what is truth and if they're willing to unlearn what the lost world has taught them, the Holy Spirit will teach the truth.

    Can anyone know every nuance of every flower on the planet and all their variations? That's the same with God, except that even if we had the ability to correctly understand absolutely everything in the universe, we'd still not be able to grasp all of God, seeing how the universe is in the palm of His hand. So with Someone like Him writing on paper His words, wouldn't that also reflect the multifaceted layers of God in the writing? The mathematics of Genesis 1:1 would blow the mind of any mathematician if they chose to study it. The Creation story would solve all the questions any astrophysicist would have if they studied it. Most forget that the majority of early scientists were indeed Christians obeying the word of God to study His creation. The truth is everywhere. The question is, are we willing to listen to the Holy Spirit? :D
    Arrie03 likes this.
  4. Yes, even Mathematics, with its limited dimensions as to Reality's infinite dimensions…
    As quoted by Albert below : )
    Albert Einstein (1879–1955) stated that "as far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality."
    Siloam likes this.
  5. Once, physics was king. Then new unexplainable laws observed in physics required the creation of another category with expanded boundaries that could account for the new laws. Such is the power of truth, even in the scriptures.

  6. I have, at various times, returned to study the Law presented in the Old Testament. I have often thought it would be a good thing to devote a week to following, as far as one may, all the Old Testament food and clothing instructions. The very act of doing this would be very prayerful, and truly a medatative fast.

    I do look at Christ as the fulfillment of the Law. This is not a repealing, nor even a modification of the Law itself, but a reflection of our (my) changed relationship to that law. Just as Christ’s blood did not make it justified for me to do as I wish, doing what would have been called sin prior to my acceptance. Sin is still sin, paid for or not.

    But the old Law is about much more than how to not sin. When my son’s were little, I had many rules for them to keep them safe from dangers they could not perceive. There are many rules I had, like you may not drive that made a lot of sense when they were 8 that would have little utility now. There were dietary rules that kept God’s people from dying out in plagues. Many diseases of men live very well in pigs. Some have a life-cycle that requires transmission between men and pigs. God’s requirements for which beasts were clean and not went a long way keeping these pestilences at bay. Even at the time of Christ, as Gods people had become less Tribal nomads and more town and farm dwellers, I suspect (but I do not know and am not declaring) that adherence to many of the laws were on the wane. Otherwise, from where did the herd of swine where our Lord sent the Legion demons come (Mark 5)?

    Paul talks about not eating that had been used as a sacrifice to Idols (I Cor 8:13), not because he thought that the law concerning that was still in effect, but because in eating it, others seeing him do this may misunderstand. In the same letter Paul goes so far as to say that anything in the meat market is fine regardless of whether they are selling meat after it has been used in a sacrifice (I Cor 10:25).

    To get back to your question, I really do not know. You have to search how the Lord may be guiding you. You should also consider whether the enemy is focusing your mind on a small thing to take your attention away from something else you need to discuss with the Lord. I truly do not know. Did you have, or do you have concerns of using the image for your avatar?
    dUmPsTeR likes this.
  7. I am edified by your posts. :)

    I cannot claim to be a scientist, but I am an interested reader of popularizations of the sciences. To me, Science is the study of God through his work. If you do not take this too far, I would point out that since the universe came into existence by His speaking, the whole universe is the word of God. If you want to discuss how evil came, I would like that discussion, but in another thread.

    No science is ever a finished work. Physics grows to encompass new discoveries.

    Stephen Gould said:

    In science, 'fact' can only mean 'confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.' I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.

    I would agree with Gould on this point (but I decline to assent on several other of his points).

    Richard Feynman said:

    I have a friend who's an artist, and he sometimes takes a view which I don't agree with. He'll hold up a flower and say, "Look how beautiful it is," and I'll agree. But then he'll say, "I, as an artist, can see how beautiful a flower is. But you, as a scientist, take it all apart and it becomes dull." I think he's kind of nutty. … There are all kinds of interesting questions that come from a knowledge of science, which only adds to the excitement and mystery and awe of a flower. It only adds. I don't understand how it subtracts.

    The same principle can be applied to contemplating God’s providence by considering the lilies of the field by studying God’s providence by examining how the lilies of the field are nourished by the soil, water, and sun.
  8. I did hear from somebody that 'scripture interprets scripture' and that if you read the OT, a lot of that becomes fufilled in the NT. Book of revelation for example, has many parallels and sometimes even the same things prophecised in Zacheriah, Daniel, ezekial, like images and symbols word for word.

    Even the lilies of the field relate back to Solomons glory.

    I do find when gardening many of Jesus parables become real to me.
    Siloam likes this.
  9. Proverbs 25:2 (KJV)
    [It is] the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings [is] to search out a matter. ​

    Do you know what the number one thing all humans on the planet crave for? Puzzles. I don't know of a single study to confirm that, but it sounds good. All games, all mysteries, even life itself are forms of the same thing: puzzles. People play them to see if they can figure out a way to master it. People watch/read them to see if they can figure them out. Some people are so craving of it that they grow up and go into science, entrepreneurs, law enforcement, computers, lawyers, politics, brokers, military, arts, literature, etc. etc. etc. There are two great gifts that God put into our DNA, craving for order, hence the desire to search out a mystery (even the terrorists want to solve the problem of rule). The next greatest gift from God answers your question about evil: choice.

    Two immutable facts from God that we even put into one phrase: God works in mysterious ways; His will be done.
    Arrie03 and Siloam say Amen and like this.
  10. I can see the cube with G, B, E and related shadow. I see the three people from different vantage points looking at the cube and also their dilemma describing the resultant shadows cast. I do struggle confirming this image to F, S and H for Father, Son and Holly Spirit. This is so for a simple reason. G, B and E are separate entities combined into one cube, but still have their separate qualities to reflect to their separate shadows cast. The cube formed by F, S and H for Father, Son and Holly Spirit is much different. This cube is one entity still, and the shadow reflects that. Also the three people looking at the cube has the same vantage point when looking at the three "elements " within this cube, and further to that, the three people looking at this cube is not three separate people, but the same people.
  11. I don't really like the word 'law'; it seems to be used for deception by man for tyrannical tendencies. I prefer the words 'teaching' and 'instruction' instead of 'law'.

    I even feel the way the testaments are labeled 'old' and 'new' play a small part in deception giving people the idea that the old is done away with; that's why I refer to them as first and second.

    I agree with you, there is instruction in the first testament that are very important. Like yoking an ox with an ass, or wearing blended fabrics; IMO they protect from an element of chaos.

    Yes, a lot of the first testament points to Messiah Jesus, and how 'man' could not be without fault and needed a means for atonement.

    I believe The Almighty is working out an understanding about graven images. Sometimes I'm just a slow learner.

    I do think the enemy does use fabricated images to distract from focus on God Almighty, again I'm not certain as to what extent it's done, I guess it depends on the individual.

    My avatar doesn't bother me and having some understanding of this topic I feel to a great extent protects me because in this world there are a great deal of fabricated figures/images.

    I appreciate your time and attention, thank you.
  12. I think following what God instructs the Israelites to do in the OT like the general principal can only be a good thing. It doesnt make us any more holy, cos only Jesus could follow it perfectly, but I believe God sees this and appreciates the effort.

    For example carved images. God doesnt like this as the practice can make us susceptible to idolatry. So, when I became a christian I chucked out any images or things I had that were dishonoring to him, and didnt pay any attention to things like advertising and stuff on tv that He obviously didnt like. In nz maori put a lot of store into carved representations and ascribe god like properties to them, like totems, and other cultures too have ornamaments and sculptures they use in worship. Like even garden sculptures, things like statues of buddhas, fairies, gnomes etc. They are not necessary. So like a nude statue that some gardens have, I wouldnt have in my garden. Its actually pornographic to me, like ancient porn. No thanks. Id rather real people in my garden than statues of them.

    As for eating certain foods, well, God wanted the israelites to be healthy. thats why he deemed certain foods clean and unclean. If we follow the general principal, not being SDA about it, I guess its better for us. But praying and blessing our food before we eat it is generally enough. So eating bacon while really bad for our bodies, we could get heart attack, isnt going to make us any less in Gods eyes I think. I really like crayfish and prawns...but I know eating these foods ALL the time prolly not so healthy. The principal is clean and unclean.

    Mixed fibres...well, polyester clothing isnt good. Mixing up fabrics is not ideal, God wants people to be pure and I suppose that extends to the way we dress, so, while not fanatic about it I know I had to change what I wore I guess to set me a part from the pagan. This easnt easy I had to churck out a lot of clothing! But worth it.

    Those moses laws are just practical ways to live a holy life. Of course we cant follow them all, we live in grace now meaning its the power in us to do right not slavishly follow laws, cos the law will be in our hearts. But in general they are all good. Like the one about vows, think I read somewhere that honoring vows is something God takes very seriously. But it also says if the daughter makes one but the dad doesnt agree, she doesnt have to follow through cos the dad has the last say. I suppose this is to prevent hasty marriages.
  13. Yea, the mention of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit cube was kind of an aside. I would like to build it, but give me a break, I am/was a software guy :D; this is a hardware problem. It is much more of a limited analogy. But, if you have a single analogy that you think closely matches the reality of the trinity in fullness, then you probably do not have a clear understanding of what trinity means. (Do you have an analogy that shows "1 & 1 & 1 equals 1" at the same time showing each "1" unique? Some analogies, like my cube, hint at the unity without teaching much about the distinctiveness of the persons. Some analogies show the persons (personalities?) better, but fall down on the unity. As I originally said, the analogy falls down when you tug it a little. That is even more true for the trinity cube than for the G E B cube.

    As for the G E B cube, the point was that none could look directly at the object itself, but only gained knowledge indirectly. It takes cooperative communication and discussion, sometimes involving concepts foreign, or even antithetical to their particular view.
  14. Yeah, I see what you mean. I still like the analogy.
    Strangely enough, you mention 1 & 1 & 1 equals 1. This is actually possible when performing arithmetic in binary. It's also at the same time something to laugh at.
  15. Actually, I wasn't thinking of boolean algebra, but you're right.

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