In the previous post, I suggested that the hermeneutical paradigm in which we live, what I am calling “The Current Paradigm,” is this:
The Current Paradigm: Statement 1
The purpose of God’s revelation is to reveal some truth so that we might believe it and live in accordance with it.
In this post, I want to give us a chance to think critically about this statement of The Current Paradigm, and others, in order to see if and how they might need revision.
Specifically, I want us to think about the “so that”s of The Current Paradigm. In Statement 1, there is only one. And, the significance of this is that if we take Statement 1 to accurately represent The Current Paradigm, then we understand God to be as concerned with the accuracy of our beliefs as He is with the quality of our lives, considered apart from those beliefs. Is He?
I think that it is obvious that He is not. But, how do I convince those who disagree with me? I’m afraid that these folks will require some Bible verse explicitly stating that God is not as concerned with the accuracy of our beliefs as He is with the quality of our hearts, intentions and actions before they will be convinced otherwise. And, I don’t have one. Maybe there is a good one out there. I don’t know. But, why should my position bear the burden of proof? It needn’t. Let the person who thinks that God is just as concerned with the accuracy of our beliefs produce the verse which makes their position explicit. They are the ones that should expect there to be one and their position seems unjustified apart from it.
So, what I think Statement 1 needs in order to move it closer to both the truth and the genuine current paradigm is another “so that.”
The Current Paradigm: Statement 2
The purpose of God’s revelation is to reveal some truth so that we might believe it so that we might live in accordance with it.
I think that this better represents The Current Paradigm. The Church, generally, gets the idea that God is more concerned with the quality of our lives than He is with the accuracy of our beliefs. And, the Church, generally, gets the idea that accurate beliefs are more of a means than an end. In that the Church, generally, sees God is trying to effect a change in our lives through His Revelation. But, if accurate beliefs are more of a means to an end than an end in and of themselves, then perhaps (1) they are not the only means to that end and (2) they can drop out of any statement of The Current Paradigm altogether without much loss. They can.
The New Paradigm: Statement 3
The purpose of God’s revelation is so that we might live in accordance with some truth.
In Statement 3, I have made two changes taken from the above suggestions. Namely, I removed everything that The Current Paradigm took to be necessary for God to accomplish His purpose for His Revelation. I removed the part that suggested that God must reveal some truth in order to get us to live in accordance with that truth. And, I removed the part that suggested that we must believe the truth in order to live in accordance with it.
Statement 3 is compatible with the Placebic View and preserves what The Current Paradigm values most and got right. If Statement 3 tells us anything new, it tells us that we have believed too much and have, perhaps, have not thought enough or have thought too narrowly about how God can accomplish the purpose of His Revelation.
Overall, the Placebic View is a story about how God can get us to live in accordance with the truth without His, first, having us to get us to believe the truth. Namely, God’s revelation can help us to arrive at a clean conscience apart from our believing some significant truths: that water baptism is not actually washing away our sins.
God still wants us to live in accordance with the truth (if our sins are forgiven, then we should believe this and not bear their guilt any longer), its just that God, with His thoughts being higher than than thoughts and His ways being higher than our ways, has more options for getting things done than we have realized or allowed. And, in either our narrow-mindedness or our controlling religious dogma we have put God in the box that we could safely get our narrow minds around. It is time to take Him out.