Monday, May 20, 2013

Therapeutic Theology V: A New Brainfart

Hi folks we're here to discuss therapeutic blah blah blah blah blah moving on...

Over on the left here the therapeutic image reads: "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (emphasis in original), and is attributed to Colossians 1:17. What is the actual wording of the verse?
And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. [Colossians 1:17]
Wait...holy cow! Did one of these things actually use an actual quotation? Let alone from a legitimate translation!? This seems like an improvement. Now let's use our next test: the context test (say that three times fast).
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. [Colossians 1:15-20]
Let's ask a question: why was "hold together" bolded in the original quote? Chances are because it was meant to convey that Christ "holds together" all the aspects of your life. Bad relationship? Financial troubles? Harassed by creditors? Didn't save as much money switching to Geico as you expected? Don't worry! Because Christ holds ALL THINGS TOGETHER!

Is this the case as found within the context? Actually, no. Paul is talking about the divine power of Christ, calling him "the image of the invisible God" and "the firstborn of all creation" (v. 15). By Christ, all things that ever existed were created, and were created through him and for him (v. 16). We then see the statement that Christ is before all things (that is, all things of existence and which were created), and in him "all things hold together" (v. 17). Does this mean Christ is gonna make your life work out? Actually no - it means all things, as in, all things of creation, hold together because of Christ's power. The planets circle, the storms rage, and the natural world continues according to the power of God the Son.

Again, we need to be careful with how we handle scripture. We wouldn't like someone misusing our words to prove a point we weren't even talking about - we shouldn't treat God's word that way.